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2023 Memorial Day weekend Chesapeake Bay Bridge travel forecast

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BALTIMORE, MD—The Maryland Transportation Authority has issued its 2023 Memorial Day weekend travel forecast, and officials say traveling off-peak will assist in reducing anticipated travel delays crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Drivers may also find time savings using the I-95 northern route via the Tydings Bridge when traveling from shore to shore.

Memorial Day Week and Weekend Travel

Higher volumes of traffic are expected at the Bay Bridge between Friday, May 26, and Monday, May 29. Maryland Transportation Authority officials project that more than 325,000 vehicles will cross the bridge during that period. It should be noted that delays are to be expected at the bridge and along the US 50 corridor throughout the entire holiday travel period. Heavier eastbound traffic volumes are expected Thursday, May 25, through Saturday, May 27, with heavier westbound traffic volumes expected to build Sunday, May 28, and Monday, May 29. Motorists should stay on US 50 on both sides of the bridge to keep local roadways open for first responders and residents.

The best times to travel across the Bay Bridge this holiday period will be off-peak, including:

  • Thursday, May 25 – before 10 a.m. and after 9 p.m.
  • Friday, May 26 – before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 27 – before 8 a.m. and after 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 28 – before 11 a.m. and after 5 p.m.
  • Memorial Day Monday, May 29 – before 8 a.m. and after 10 p.m.

Weather and traffic permitting, two-way operations will be implemented to help alleviate eastbound delays at the Bay Bridge. Two-way operations may be limited based on westbound traffic volumes, as bridge officials strive to mitigate delays on both sides of the bridge. Two-way operations are prohibited during bridge wind warnings/restrictions, fog/limited visibility or times of precipitation, and may be prohibited during incidents.

Bay Bridge Automated Lane Closure System Now Active on Both Sides of the Bridge

The new Automated Lane Closure System at the Bay Bridge uses overhead lane-use control signals and full-color dynamic message signs, horizontal swing gates and illuminated pavement markers to alert and guide motorists when lanes are opening and closing to accommodate traffic operations.

Motorists must pay attention and adhere to overhead lane signals.

Lane signals apply to travel lanes BEFORE, ON, and AFTER the bridge wherever lane signals are present.

  • RED X: Means the lane is closed. You MUST NOT enter or travel in any lane over which a RED X signal is shown.
  • YELLOW X: Prepare to vacate the lane beneath the YELLOW X signal and move to a lane with a DOWNWARD GREEN ARROW.
  • DOWNWARD GREEN ARROW: Motorists can drive in the lane beneath the GREEN ARROW signal.

Remember: Police enforcement is continuing for motorists failing to obey the lane-use control signals on the highway approaches and on the bridge.

Easiest Way to Pay Maryland Tolls

Tolls in Maryland are collected through E-ZPass, Pay-By-Plate, and Video Tolling. E-ZPass is the most cost-effective way to travel toll roads in Maryland, saving drivers up to 77% versus the higher rates and also saving the additional paperwork that comes with Video Tolls.

With Pay-By-Plate, tolls are automatically billed to the driver’s registered credit card as they use Maryland toll facilities, with no need for a transponder or pre-paid deposit. Pay-By-Plate rates are the same as former cash rates. Motorists who travel Maryland toll roads without E-ZPass or Pay-By-Plate – Video Tolling customers – can save 15% (maximum of $5 per transaction) by paying their Video Tolls before the notice is mailed. Learn more and enroll in E-ZPass or sign up for Pay-By-Plate online here. If using a rental vehicle over the holiday, you can add vehicle information temporarily to an E-ZPass or Pay-By-Plate account. Otherwise, be sure to alert the rental car company before traveling a route that includes a toll facility.

To ensure the lowest toll rate for your E-ZPass account, customers are reminded to:

  • keep vehicle and billing information up to date (e.g., check for expired credit cards, etc.);
    maintain a positive balance;
  • properly mount your E-ZPass transponder prior to traveling a toll facility, and
  • E-ZPass users can utilize the new DriveEZMD app for managing their accounts.

DriveEzMD Customer Service Centers will be closed Saturday, May 27, and Monday, May 29. Visit https://www.DriveEzMD.com or use the automated system at 1-888-321-6824 for 24/7 account maintenance or to make payments.

Safety Tips for Memorial Day Weekend

Protect yourself, your family and other travelers this Memorial Day weekend by following these rules of the road:

  • Remember that Maryland’s Move Over law applies to all stopped vehicles displaying any type of caution signals or warning lights. If you cannot safely move over into an available lane that’s not immediately adjacent to the stopped vehicle, slow down.
  • Allow for extra time to get to your destination.
  • Adhere to speed limits. Speeding gives you less time to react and increases the severity of a crash.
  • Don’t drive distracted. Any activity that takes your focus away from the road ahead is a distraction.
  • Never drive impaired by drugs or alcohol. Impaired driving endangers your life and the lives of others.
  • Look twice for motorcycles. For motorcycle riders, remember that in Maryland individuals may not operate or ride on a motorcycle unless they wear a helmet that is certified to meet U.S. Department of Transportation standards.
  • Commercial vehicles must travel across the Bay Bridge in the right lane.
  • Secure your load in vehicles and trailers before traveling. Items that can shift, slide or fall onto the roadway can lead to serious vehicle crashes, especially on roads with no shoulders like bridges.
  • Make sure your vehicle is road ready. If your vehicle breaks down, exit the roadway. If that isn’t possible, remain inside your vehicle and call #77 for assistance.

Maryland Transportation Authority Police will remain vigilant and target dangerous drivers, seat belt violations and criminal activity throughout the holiday travel period. To report aggressive or dangerous driving on Maryland toll roads, call MDTA Police Dispatch at 410-537-7911.

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