News Release, Maryland Department of Transportation
HANOVER, MD – Gathering today at the MDOT MTA Light RailLink station outside of Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) Secretary Pete K. Rahn and representatives from each of MDOT’s six transportation business units kicked off Thanksgiving week with holiday travel tips, including updates on the $27 million deck rehabilitation on the Bay Bridge and its effect on holiday travel.
“MDOT wants to ensure that Marylanders and visitors alike get to their destinations safely this week, no matter where they’re going or how they’re getting there,” Secretary Rahn said.
Joining Secretary Rahn were BWI Marshall Airport Executive Director Ricky Smith; Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore Deputy Executive Director Dave Thomas; Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) Chief Operating Officer John O’Neill; MDOT State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) Administrator Greg Slater; MDOT Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) Administrator Chrissy Nizer; and MDOT Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) Administrator Kevin Quinn.
Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel weeks of the year and kicks off the holiday travel season. Representatives from MDOT business unit provided the following Thanksgiving travel updates:
MDTA outlines Bay Bridge schedule for best travel times
Work will continue through Thanksgiving week on the deck rehabilitation project at the Bay Bridge, meaning the right lane of the westbound span will remain closed. Crews are working day and night, seven days a week, to expedite the project. Motorists should expect major delays in both directions and plan to leave at least 20 to 30 minutes earlier than usual if crossing the bridge. The best times to travel the Bay Bridge during the Thanksgiving holiday are:
- Eastbound: Tuesday through Friday, November 26-29, before 9 a.m. and after 9 p.m.; and Monday, December 2, before noon and after 8 p.m.
- Westbound: Tuesday and Wednesday, November 26-27, before 5 a.m. and after 6 p.m.; Thursday through Sunday, November 28-December 1, before 9 a.m. and after 9 p.m.; and Monday, December 2, before 5 a.m. and after 2 p.m.
For updates, visit baybridge.com, call 1-877-BAYSPAN (229-7726) or follow twitter.com/TheMDTA.
MDTA is expanding cashless tolling hours at the Bay Bridge during the holiday week. From Wednesday through Saturday cashless tolling will be in effect from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. During this time only, motorists will be video-tolled at the cash rate if they do not have an E-ZPass.
In addition to the 24/7 westbound right lane closure, the westbound span may be fully closed from 9 p.m. each night to 5 a.m. the following morning during the holiday week. During these overnight closures, two-way traffic will operate on the eastbound span with one lane in each direction.
There will be no two-way traffic on the westbound span during the holiday week unless there is an emergency. MDTA Police will continue to work with Maryland State Police and local law enforcement to assist with traffic flow on US 50 and parallel routes. Commercial vehicle operators with a CDL can subscribe to #BayBridgeWork for notifications by text and/or email. Go to https://bit.ly/2Dh9EZn.
Elsewhere, MDTA will lift construction-related temporary lane closures on its roadways from 5 a.m. Wednesday, November 27, to 9 a.m. Monday, December 2, except at the Bay Bridge.
MDOT State Highway Administration urges travelers to be prepared
MDOT SHA officials urge holiday travelers to be prepared by checking vehicle fuel levels, hoses, the radiator, lights, and fluids. Also, pack supplies, snacks, a phone charger, and an emergency kit. Motorists should travel during off-peak hours to avoid significant delays. Typically, off-peak hours include Tuesday and Wednesday, before 6 a.m. and after 11 p.m.; and Thursday through Sunday, before 9 a.m. and after 9 p.m.
Plan ahead, and go to roads.maryland.gov for live traffic cameras, weather information, real-time roadway conditions, active incidents and more.
MDOT SHA will bolster service of high-travel areas, such as interstates 95 and 270 and US 50, with added CHART patrols to respond to breakdowns and incidents. If there is a fender bender or your vehicle becomes disabled, move the vehicle out of the travel lane, if possible, to a safe location on the side of the road. Also, move over or slow down if you see emergency vehicles, tow truck drivers and service, and utility vehicles on the side of the road.
MDOT SHA is suspending non-emergency construction lane closures from Wednesday, November 27, at 5 a.m. to Monday, December 2, at 9 a.m. In addition, holiday hauling restrictions will be in place – meaning no hauling moves from noon Wednesday, November 27, to 9 a.m. Monday, December 2, with the exception of Containerized Cargo permits. Those with these permits are restricted with no moves from 9 p.m. Wednesday through 4 a.m. Friday; and from 9 p.m. Friday, through 4 a.m. Monday, December 2.
BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport is ready for holiday travel
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screens about 32,000 passengers on an average day at BWI Marshall Airport. On the peak travel days of the Thanksgiving holiday period, TSA expects to screen up to 40,000 passengers per day. BWI Marshall is urging holiday travelers to be in the airport two hours ahead of scheduled departures. Pack carefully, and check TSA’s website – TSA.gov – for a list of what’s allowed and not allowed through checkpoints.
The airport is also advising local motorists picking up arriving family members or friends to either park in the Hourly Garage or use the upper level/departures roadway to avoid possible congestion along the arrivals roadway. Commercial vehicles, such as hotel shuttles, off-airport parking shuttles, Uber, Lyft, and others, must use the upper level/departures roadway to provide services.
Through December 6, and then again from December 20 through January 3, BWI Marshall is providing up to one hour of free parking for customers who enter and exit the Hourly Garage within 60 minutes. The garage provides an easy option for motorists to meet or drop off travelers. Customers parking in the Hourly Garage beyond 60 minutes will be charged the usual rate. In addition, the airport’s Cell Phone Lot provides a free, convenient location for motorists to wait for arriving passengers. Fifty spaces have been added to the Cell Phone Lot for the holiday season.
MDOT Mass Transit Administration notes transit options for holiday travel
MDOT MTA is implementing service improvements with cutting-edge technology that can help provide a way for customers to get to their favorite holiday events while avoiding parking and driving in traffic. Customers can purchase fares for Local Bus, Metro SubwayLink, Light RailLink, MARC Train and Commuter Bus on their mobile devices using CharmPass. The pass allows 90 minutes to transfer free between Local Bus, Light RailLink, and Metro SubwayLink. More than 1.7 million trips have been purchased using CharmPass.
Real-time transit information and trip planning can be accessed on your mobile device using the Transit App. For information on the Transit App and details for free downloading, go to mta.maryland.gov/transit.
MDOT Motor Vehicle Administration says Friday is a good day to get REAL ID ready
Even though the deadline for the federal REAL ID requirement is nearly a year away – October 1, 2020 – MDOT MVA officials are reminding people to prepare now to be REAL ID ready. All MVA branches and VEIP stations are open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, November 29, and there are extended hours on Saturdays at nine branch locations. Take advantage of fewer crowds and shorter lines on Black Friday at MDOT MVA.
Use MDOT MVA’s Lookup Tool to learn your REAL ID status and make an appointment using the Online Document Guide. Book a REAL ID appointment at any branch. Nearly 27,000 appointments are available each week.
Regarding safety, MDOT MVA reminds drivers to give the road their full attention. Always buckle up: every seat, every time, day and night. Drive sober and plan for a sober ride home. Use transit, call a cab or a rideshare service.
Port of Baltimore anticipates truck and cruise traffic
The Port of Baltimore and the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Port Administration (MDOT MPA) is reminding citizens to be aware of trucks sharing the roads during the holidays. Some simple reminders:
- Never cut in front of a truck. Trucks cannot stop on a dime.
- Don’t hang alongside a truck. Pass it quickly on the left.
- Avoid tailgating. Trucks can’t see your vehicle if you’re too close behind them.
There are two cruises scheduled for the upcoming holiday weekend at the Port. If traveling from the Port, please allow extra time to travel to the cruise terminal. Also, pack warm clothes for when you return from warm beaches to colder weather and have an ice scraper in your vehicle’s trunk.