The Maryland Transportation Authority is carrying out Gov. Larry Hogan’s directive earlier this month to speed up rehabilitation work on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
“The safety of Marylanders is our top priority every day, which is exactly why we are moving forward on this urgent project,” MDTA Executive Director Jim Ports said in a statement. “Governor Hogan has directed us to look at every possible solution to expedite the project, and we are confident that these actions will allow us to make these repairs as quickly as we can and limit the impacts on local residents. We especially appreciate the input of the community, including Queen Anne’s County leaders, as we move forward with this project.”
Hogan issued the order after weeks of concerns over miles-long backups on both ends of the bridge.
The deck surface in the right lane on the westbound span needs to be replaced. Officials said the deck surface is severely deteriorated and that continuing to use it would have posed safety risks and resulted in a lengthier and more costly project.
To speed up the work, the contractor will use multiple crews to do work day and night, seven days a week. Crews will work simultaneously in multiple work zones along the span. Crews will install jersey walls and cones so that all four work zones can be in place as soon as possible. Two-way traffic on the westbound span will only be in place for emergencies and severe backups.
Cashless tolling was already in place on Thursdays and Fridays. That policy will continue to start at noon in the months ahead, but end at 8 p.m. instead of 10 p.m. The change will allow crews to implement two-way traffic on the eastbound span earlier than otherwise possible and close the westbound span for overnight work.
Crews will also work through Thanksgiving week.
In the future, cashless tolling will be the norm statewide. In the next year, workers will demolish specific toll booths to create wider lanes at the toll plaza and will install overhead gantries to implement full-time cashless tolling. After that work is done, crews will demolish the entire toll plaza, reconstruct the roadway and fill the toll collector access tunnel.
MDTA officials also pledged to work with leaders in Queen Anne’s and Anne Arundel counties and to continue to reach out to residents in affected areas.