The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) is reminding customers that we’re all safer at home during the continuing COVID-19 emergency. This month the Maryland Department of Health issued a public health advisory recommending residents avoid non-essential travel outside the state, and the MDTA urges everyone to make safety the top priority for themselves, their family, and others. If you must travel, do your part to slow the spread of COVID-19 by remembering to wash your hands, wear a mask in public, and avoid large crowds.
MDTA is also reminding travelers that all-electronic tolling is in effect statewide on all toll roads and bridges, with tolls paid via E-ZPass or by Video Tolling. E-ZPass Maryland Customer Service Centers will be closed Thursday, November 26, but customers can go to ezpassmd.com or use the automated system at 1-888-321-6824 for 24/7 account maintenance. If using a rental vehicle over the holiday, you can add it temporarily to an E-ZPass account. Otherwise, be sure to alert the rental car company before traveling a route that includes an all-electronic toll.
“E-ZPass Maryland customers pay the lowest tolls on Maryland toll roads,” said MDTA Executive Director James F. Ports, Jr. “Transponders are free and there’s no monthly maintenance fee for Maryland addresses. E-ZPass Maryland also makes for a great gift for the holidays, and sign-up is available 24/7 at ezpassmd.com.”
Those traveling the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway (I-95), the Bay Bridge (US 50/301), the Nice/Middleton Bridge (US 301) or the Fort McHenry (I-95) and Baltimore Harbor (I-895) tunnels without an E-ZPass are reminded that the standard Video Toll rate is currently adjusted down to the cash rate to provide relief in response to the COVID-19 emergency. Standard Video Toll rates apply at the Francis Scott Key (I-695) and Thomas J. Hatem (US 40) bridges, I-95 Express Toll Lanes and the Intercounty Connector (MD 200), which are pre-established all-electronic tolling facilities. Effective January 1, 2021, standard Video Toll rates will apply for any trips not paid with a valid E-ZPass at toll facilities statewide.
PLAN AHEAD TO AVOID PEAK TRAVEL
The MDTA recommends these travel times on the Bay Bridge to avoid the most congested periods:
- Tuesday, November 24, through Friday, November 27 – before 9 a.m. and after 9 p.m.; and
- Monday, November 30 – before noon and after 8 p.m.
- Tuesday, November 24, and Wednesday, November 25 – before 5 a.m. and after 6 p.m.;
- Thursday, November 26, through Sunday, November 29 – before 9 a.m. and after 9 p.m.; and
- Monday, November 30 – before 5 a.m. and after 2 p.m.
For I-95, the best times to travel include these off-peak hours:
- Tuesday, November 24, and Wednesday, November 25 – before 6 a.m. and after 11 p.m.;
- Thursday, November 26, and Friday, November 27 – before 7 a.m. and after 9 p.m.; and
- Saturday, November 28, and Sunday, November 29 – before 9 a.m. and after 9 p.m.
The I-95 travel plazas, Chesapeake House in Cecil County at mile marker 97 and Maryland House in Harford County at mile marker 82, are open 24/7 with indoor and outdoor seating available. Face coverings are required while inside the buildings.
For those traveling I-895, MDTA is reminding motorists that due to ongoing construction, two-way traffic (one lane in each direction) is in place on the southbound bridge north of the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel. The Holabird Avenue exit ramp is temporarily closed. Motorists should use I-95 or I-695 as an alternate route.
PUT SAFETY FIRST IN ALL TRAVEL PLANS
While recommending that Marylanders stay at home this Thanksgiving, the MDTA is urging everyone on the roadways to follow these safety tips:
- Avoid distractions. Anything that takes your attention away from driving can be a distraction. Distracted driving causes an average of nine deaths and more than 1,000 injuries every day in the United States.
- Make sure your vehicle is road ready. A vehicle breakdown can create a backup within seconds. If your vehicle breaks down, remain inside and call #77 for assistance.
- Move Over. State law requires vehicles to Move Over when approaching an emergency, transportation, service and utility vehicle or tow truck with red, yellow or amber flashing lights. If you are unable to move over, slow down.
- Arrive Alive. MDTA Police will remain vigilant and target dangerous drivers, seatbelt violations and criminal activity. Every crash, injury and death caused by impaired driving is completely preventable.
View real-time traffic camera images on MDTA roadways by visiting mdta.maryland.gov. For 24/7 Bay Bridge traffic information call 1-877-BAYSPAN (1-877-229-7726) or visit Baybridge.com to view real-time traffic cameras. For real-time updates on major incidents follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/TheMDTA. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/TheMDTA.