As anyone who has sat in the hours of traffic on a Friday afternoon can attest, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in its current form cannot remain the only option for drivers heading to and from Maryland’s Eastern Shore – be it to visit Ocean City, see family, or commute back and forth to work.
While the Bay Bridge can safely be maintained through 2065, studies show that by 2040, westbound traffic could back up 14 miles on Sunday evenings in the summer. It is bad situation that will only get worse.
In 2016, Governor Larry Hogan authorized a four-year study to examine potential locations for another bay crossing. The study, which is required under federal law, examines locations, environmental impacts, cost estimates, traffic projections and preliminary funding options.
At the end of August, it was announced that the process had gleaned four preliminary alternatives to the current bay crossing, which would be taken to the public for comment. The four alternatives include a “no-build” alternative, and three preliminary corridors for building an additional crossing. One of these preliminary corridors goes through our community: Maryland Route 100 at Mountain Road in Pasadena crossing over to Route 301 between Rock Hall and Centreville on the Eastern Shore.
I am adamantly opposed to this route and will fight this idea! This area of MD 100 and Mountain Road is already heavily congested. The amount of infrastructure that would have to be built would require hundreds of homes and properties to be taken through eminent domain. I spoke with Governor Hogan to oppose the Mountain Road option and he agrees with me.
Governor Hogan has said the only alternative he supports is a third span at the current location of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. In addition, Jim Ports, the executive director of the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) has stated that, based on traffic models, the third span at the existing bridge would have the most positive impact on reducing traffic. While I am encouraged by these statements, I believe public input is key at this juncture. Your government needs to hear from you. The public comment phase of this study is just beginning. MDTA will hold several open houses across the state where citizens can provide feedback on the proposed alternatives.
In Anne Arundel County, this open house will take place on Wednesday, October 2, from 6:00pm-8:00pm at Anne Arundel Community College. I plan on attending to communicate my complete opposition to a bay crossing through Pasadena. I am also starting an online petition that I will include as part of my testimony against this route. If you would like to add your name to the petition, visit www.kipke.com/baycrossing. For more information about the bay crossing study, visit www.baycrossingstudy.com.