FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 18, 2013
Contact: John Sales
SAFETY ENHANCEMENTS ADDED TO BAY BRIDGE STARTING THIS WEEKEND
Result of safety study completed in 2012; NO LANECHANGES between center and left lanes on westbound span
BALTIMORE, MD – The MD Transportation Authority (MDTA) will install new lane markings, rumble strips and signs on the westbound Bay Bridge (US 50/301) to enhance safety measures during “two-way” traffic operations, based on a safety study MDTA completed last year. Weather-permitting, crews will remove and replace the rumble strips and pavement markings and add new signs starting Friday, April 19.
“The MDTA is continuously looking to improve safety at all of its facilities and to build on existing safety measures at the Bay Bridge,” said MDTA Executive Secretary Harold M. Bartlett. “These enhancements will provide additional visual and physical guides designed to help drivers stay alert and stay in their lanes during two-way operations.”
During periods of heavy eastbound traffic, the MDTA implements two-way traffic operations by “reversing” the left lane of the westbound span for use by eastbound motorists. Crews will create a painted buffer between the westbound left lane and center lane using continuous double yellow lines, rumble strips and a solid white line along the 4.3-mile span.
The change will be gradual as crews first remove the existing rumble strips and pavement markings starting Friday, April 19. Crews will then install the new lane markings and rumble strips. The work is expected to last about one week and will be performed overnight and weather-permitting.
For this work, the westbound span may be closed Friday and Saturday from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. the following morning, Sunday from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. the following morning and Monday through Thursday from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. the following morning. Two-way traffic will operate on the eastbound span during the full westbound span closures.
“Westbound motorists will need to adjust to the new pavement markings, which will prohibit changing lanes between the left and center lanes for the entire trip across the bridge, whether or not two-way operations are in effect,” said MDTA Police Chief Colonel Michael Kundrat. “New signs reminding motorists to stay in their lane will also be installed as part of this effort.”
At the end of 2012, the MDTA announced its completion of an evaluation of additional safety measures that may be implemented at the Bay Bridge during two-way traffic. The study concluded that double solid lines would create a buffer space between lanes while discouraging motorists from changing or crossing lanes. Rumble strips, which were installed along portions of the bridge in 2008 and are proven effective in discouraging lane changes, would be installed along the entire span.
The MDTA will monitor the performance of these improvements and consider if they would be applicable to the eastbound span, where two-way traffic may be used to accommodate full westbound span closures for maintenance/construction.
Several improvements have been made over the past decade to improve safety on the Bay Bridge. These include the installation of rumble strips along portions of the bridge and enhancements to the lane markings, lane-control system, signing and the procedures used by police and operations personnel for reversing the direction of travel on the bridge.