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MDTA employees contract Legionnaires’ disease, I-895 offices closed

UPDATE 2: The MDTA administration office and toll plazas along I-895 have reopened for business.

UPDATE: MDTA offices along I-895 will remain closed on Wednesday.

Original story below…

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BALTIMORE, MD – The Maryland Transportation Authority announced on Tuesday that its administration building at the Interstate 895/Baltimore Harbor Tunnel toll plaza will be closed on Tuesday and the toll booths will be automated as state and Baltimore City health officials assess where two employees diagnosed with legionellosis may have contracted the illness.

Both MDTA employees have received medical treatment. Health officials will be at the site to conduct a preliminary assessment to review areas where legionellosis, a form of bacterial pneumonia also known as Legionnaires’ disease, may have been present.

“While there’s no confirmation that the building is the source of the illness,we believe the safety of our employees and visitors to the administration building dictates that we close the facility while tests are conducted,” said MDTA Chairman and Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn.

E-ZPass lanes at the toll plaza will operate as usual Tuesday, but cash payment lanes will operate as video (cashless) toll lanes. Drivers who usually pay with cash should KEEP MOVING through the plaza without stopping, and will be sent a toll statement. These transactions will be billed at the cash toll rate.

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MDTA Police officers will be on hand to help motorists navigate the toll plaza. The E-ZPass Stop-in Center at the tunnel facility is also closed, and customers can visit ezpassmd.com for other locations.

Once MDTA officials learned that the two employees had been diagnosed with legionellosis, the decision was made to close the operation pending the health officials’ review. MDTA employees who work at the administrative building and the toll booths have been granted administrative leave while it is closed.

“The safety of our employees is always the paramount concern for us, whether it’s at construction work zones or at the office,” said MDTA Executive Director Jim Ports.

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