FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Nov. 20, 2014

Contact: John Sales

410-537-1017

 

BUSY THANKSGIVING WEEK ANTICIPATED AT MARYLAND’S TOLL FACILITIES

BALTIMORE, MD -- As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) reminds motorists to travel during off-peak hours, stay alert and plan ahead to avoid travel delays. Based on traffic counts from previous years, Wednesday is expected to be the heaviest travel day, with many travelers also expected to hit the roads Tuesday.

The MDTA anticipates a one percent increase in traffic volumes compared to last year’s Thanksgiving holiday period. Between Tuesday, Nov. 25, and Sunday, Nov. 30, the MDTA expects more than 2.6 million travelers on its highways, bridges and tunnels:

· Fort McHenry Tunnel (I-95) – more than 726,000 vehicles.

· John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway (I-95) – nearly 667,000 vehicles.

· William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial (Bay) Bridge (US 50/301) – more than 428,000 vehicles.

· An additional 846,000 vehicles are projected to travel the Francis Scott Key Bridge
(I-695), the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel (I-895), the Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge
(US 40) and the Governor Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge (US 301) combined.

All figures represent traffic volumes in both directions.

The MDTA offers the following tips to help motorists reach their destinations safely:

· Travel during off-peak hours to avoid significant delays. For the I-95 corridor, off-peak hours include:

  • Tuesday and Wednesday -- before 6 a.m. and after 11 p.m.
  • Thursday through Sunday -- before 9 a.m. and after 9 p.m.

Note:  Bay Bridge recommended travel times are before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. each day of the holiday period.

· Game Plan for your travels.

  • For real-time updates on major incidents follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/TheMDTA. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/TheMDTA. To view real-time traffic camera images on MDTA roadways, visit mdta.maryland.gov. Call 511 or visit MD511.org for statewide travel information.
  • Call 1-877-BAYSPAN (229-7726) for 24/7 Bay Bridge traffic conditions. Visit baybridge.com to view traffic cameras at the bridge and to sign up for email alerts.
  • A hands-free device any traveler will love. Visit ezpassmd.com to enroll on-line and for a list of E-ZPass “On the Go” retail locations.

· Consider the Intercounty Connector (ICC)/MD 200 in your holiday travels. The ICC now connects I-270/I-370 and Konterra Drive/US 1.

Reminder: The Chesapeake and Maryland House Travel Plazas are both open for service on I-95.

Keeping traffic moving as safely and efficiently as possible is the MDTA’s priority. The MDTA Police will remain vigilant and target aggressive and impaired drivers, seatbelt violators and criminal activity. The MDTA Police and Courtesy Patrol Units will have additional patrols on duty to respond quickly to incidents and disabled vehicles. In addition, the MDTA will lift construction-related temporary lane closures at its facilities from Tuesday, Nov. 25, to Monday, Dec. 1.

For your safety and the safety of other motorists and emergency personnel:

· Obey posted speed limits and overhead lane-control signals.

· Devote your full attention to driving – it is illegal to text and use hand-held cell phones while driving in Maryland.

· State law requires that every passenger in a moving vehicle be secured with a seat belt or child safety restraint.

· Keep a safe following distance to avoid rear-end collisions.

· Keep your eyes on the road – do not sight-see, especially on bridges.

· Do not change lanes while traveling over bridges and through tunnels.

· Make sure your vehicle is “road ready.”

· If your vehicle becomes disabled, remain inside and call #77 for assistance.

· When contacting a dispatch center, motorists should be prepared to provide the following:

• The location of the emergency

• A call-back telephone number

• Details of the incident/accident/disabled vehicle/or other circumstances

· State law requires vehicles to move over when approaching an emergency vehicle or tow truck using visual signals. If you are unable to move over, slow down.

· Drunk Driving. Over the limit. Under Arrest.

In accordance with the State’s budget-reduction plan, MDTA offices will be closed on Friday, Nov. 28, including the E-ZPass Maryland Stop-in Centers and Customer Service Center. Visit ezpassmd.com or use the automated system at 1-888-321-6824 to sign up for E-ZPass, update account information or make payments via credit card. Offices will reopen on Monday, Dec. 1.

REMINDER:

Dateline for I-95 Express Toll Lanes (ETL) Opening in Baltimore:

  • Saturday, Dec. 6, by 6 a.m.: I-95 ETL opens between I-895 and MD 43 (weather permitting).
  • Saturday, Dec. 6 – Friday, Dec. 12 at midnight: Test-drive period -- no tolls will be collected.
  • Saturday, Dec. 13, 12:01 a.m.: Toll collection begins.

For more information, visit mdta.maryland.gov.

For real-time updates on major incidents follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/TheMDTA.

The MDTA thanks motorists for their patience. Stay Alert So No One Gets Hurt!

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