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The Bay Bridge - Gateway from Annapolis to the Eastern Shore

The Bay Bridge - Gateway from Annapolis to the Eastern Shore

The William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bay Bridge is the gateway route identified as US-50 and MD-301 from points West including Annapolis, Anne Arundel County, Washington DC, and Virginia to reach the Eastern Shore and Atlantic Ocean beaches along the Maryland and Delaware coasts.

William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bay Bridge

Operated by the Maryland Transportation Authority, the William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bay Bridge is actually two bridges in one.  There is an East-bound two lane bridge and a West-bound three lane bridge.  During peak travel times the single lane on the Southern (right hand lane) side of the West-bound bridge is opened for East-bound travel.  Typically this lane is open for the evening commute across the bridge and from time-to-time when maintenance and other reasons necessitate a closing of one of the lanes on the East-bound bridge.

William Preston Lane Jr Memorial Bay Bridge

If you have an E-ZPass you can shorten your time to pass the toll which is only charged to East-bound travelers.  Although considered a "round trip", the cost is currently $2.50 for two-axle vehicles and goes up from there.  If you're a regular commuter across the bridge, then you should be enrolled for a commuter discount that reduces your round trip fee to $1.00.  Current toll rates are posted on the Maryland Transportation Authority website.

Proposed Toll Increase Coming Soon

There's a proposed toll increase coming soon to the William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bay Bridge.  On June 2nd, the Maryland Transportation Authority posted a notice of phased in toll increases in 2011, 2012 and 2013.  There's a sixty-day period of public comment with open meetings to be held in various locations throughout Maryland.  The most recent public hearing was held on June 15, 2011 in Stevensville, Maryland.

The Maryland Transportation Authority proposes to increase the tolls for passenger cars on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge from $2.50 to $5 starting October 1, 2011.  And, to keep increasing it until it reaches $8 in July of 2013.  Commuters on the E-ZPass discount plan would see a $0.50 increase from $1.00 per East-bound trip to $1.50 per trip across the bay.  Other Maryland Transportation Authority operated toll roads are slated for increases as well including the Harbor Tunnel, the Fort McHenry Tunnel and the Key Bridge.

Information on the proposed toll increases by the Maryland Transportation Authority can be found in their Notice for Public Comment Handout.  The handout includes the dates and locations for public hearings.  It states that the public may submit comments for the official record by 5 p.m. on August 1, 2011, by visiting www.mdta.maryland.gov; writing to MDTA Toll Comment, 2310 Broening Highway, Baltimore, MD, 21224; or attending one of the public hearings.

Maryland Residents Are Angered Over Toll Increases

As the public hearings continue, residents throughout Maryland are angered over the proposed toll increases.  The Monday, June 20, 2011 public hearing held at the Severn River Middle School, as reported in The Capital, Anne Arundel County citizens felt that the increases were a "done deal".   For commuters that have to traverse the Bay Bridge daily, this is just one more increase in expenses while wages fail to keep pace.  Add the increase to the Bay Bridge toll to higher gasoline prices and you get a costly mix for daily commuters from the Eastern Shore.  For commuters living on the Eastern Shore and working along the metro Washington and Baltimore corridor, there are no options to take a different toll free route.  Along other routes with bridge and tunnel tolls, there are local toll free routes that take more time but avoid toll booths.  Not so on the Bay Bridge.

UPDATE: Maryland Transportation Authority to Reconsider Proposed Toll Hikes

In an article published in the Capital newspaper on July 27, 2011, the State of Maryland has said it is reconsidering the Bay Bridge proposed toll hikes.  The voice of local residents in Stevensville Maryland on Kent Island and points East may not have been enough to put a stop to the increases, but, the locally operating trucking companies may have the loudest voice yet.

During yesterday's [July 26, 2011] hearing, trucking company representatives told the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee that increasing the tolls as originally planned could drive them out of business. They also said that shipping companies may start using Norfolk, Va., rather than the Port of Baltimore, to avoid the added expense of tolls.

While the final proposal to simply raise tolls at existing toll booths seems to be loosing steam, Maryland is going to have to make up the deficit somehow.  It's not fair that residents who have no alternative but to cross over the Bay Bridge will carry an a substantial portion of the fiscal burden for the rest of Maryland in order to cover the cost of repairs and improvements for all.

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17 commentsStephen Howell • June 18 2011 10:54AM

Comments

$8, by 2103! Geez, that is a way to cut down on traffic to OC! I bet many will start going through Delaware to get to the beach!

Posted by Gloria and Jason Belmonte, www.cecilcountyhomesearch.com (Prudential Fox&Roach The Belmonte Group) about 3 years ago

Gloria, information on the proposed toll increases has been hard to find and there hasn't been much news coverage about the increases.  While the June 15th meeting on the Eastern Shore was well attended, it seems like this is a "done deal" and the public is just going to have to "suck it up" and pay the toll.

Posted by Stephen Howell, Sarasota FL Homes For Sale 941-870-4141 (Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate) about 3 years ago

You mean there is more than one Bay Bridge? It will cost you $5 to cross the San Francisco Bay Bridge from Oakland to The City. The return trip is free.

Posted by John Juarez, CDPE, ePRO, SRES, GRI, PMN (Prudential California Realty) about 3 years ago

John, yep, we've got a "bay bridge" too, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge ... LOL!

Posted by Stephen Howell, Sarasota FL Homes For Sale 941-870-4141 (Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate) about 3 years ago

That is SO funny John J because when he said bay bridge I automatically thought San Fransisco! I went there and loved it! I will have to go to Anapolis and check out the other one some day!

Posted by Rosalie Evans, The Evans Group, Sioux Falls, SD Homes For Sale (Meritus Group Real Estate) about 3 years ago

Rosalie, LOL ... but ... yep ... we've got a Bay Bridge too ... and that's what we call it around here!!!

Posted by Stephen Howell, Sarasota FL Homes For Sale 941-870-4141 (Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate) about 3 years ago
That is a great reblog and way more info than I knew about the bay bridge living here! Great post!
Posted by Cheryl Ritchie, Southern Maryland 301-980-7566 (RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com) about 3 years ago

We went over that bridge last year during our RV trip up the east coast.  It was gorgeous.  As opposed to the tolls to drive I-90 across New York, it was a bargain.

Posted by Jeanne Gregory, RE/MAX Southwest, Sugar Land, TX about 3 years ago

Cheryl ... thanks for the comment ... there so much more that could be written about iconic structures around Maryland - the Chesapeake Bay Bridge being one of those structures.

Jeanne ... thanks too for your comment ... every time I cross the bridge I can't wait to see what's below ... the water, the sky, the vessels are different every time.  One day its flat and calm, the next it rough and windy.  Another time the sun is setting the water is golden and another day is shimmer like silver in the afternoon sun.  Almost anytime you could see a bulk carrier, car carrier, tug and tow, recreational sailboat or power boat, and more.

Posted by Stephen Howell, Sarasota FL Homes For Sale 941-870-4141 (Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate) about 3 years ago

I grew up in Maryland and spent many years going over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, my father was an Operating Engineer and helped build the Bay Bridge!

Posted by Christine OShea, Naples Florida Homes for Sale (NATIONS) about 3 years ago

Stephen:

When did the move the bridge.  Oh, your not talking about the San Francisco Bay Bridge.  Unfortunately, our bridge is having reconstruction done from the 1989 earthquake.  Hope they finish the work before the next big one.

Posted by Evelyn Kennedy, Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA (Gallagher & Lindsey, Alameda, California) about 3 years ago

Stephen. . you did an excellent job with this post. . and that is an unforgettable bridge for my family. .everytime we use it, they feel it shake and they are nervous and excited at the same time. . .until we get to the other side:)

Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) about 3 years ago

Christine, that's way cool!!!  He helped build an iconic structure that people marvel at every day!!!

Evelyn ... nope ... we didn't move "the bridge" ... we've got one here too!!!

Fernando ... I want to get the word out that the toll for the bridge is going up by 100% in October.  That's a pretty steep price increase.  While this is all happening pretty quietly without a lot of fan fair, could you imagine the outrage that would happen if suddenly the price of gas went up a 100% (from around $3.60 to suddenly $7.20)!!!

Posted by Stephen Howell, Sarasota FL Homes For Sale 941-870-4141 (Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate) about 3 years ago

Stephen,


What a GREAT post!  I love it!  I remember the backups on this bridge in the summertime, BEFORE air conditioning in cars.. no kidding.  The station wagon with the wood grain, the gas crisis, waiting in line, based on the last digit on your license plate, and on the way to the beach...  this bridge is a staple in Maryland living.  

 

We have a shore home in Cambridge near the Hyatt and cross the bridge regularly now, but we have figured out the traffic patterns thankfully, but love this bridge nonetheless!


Fantastic post!

Posted by Brent Kluge, ALL 50 STATES !! - 203k's DONE RIGHT! (Brent Kluge - FHA 203K - HomeStyle- JUMBO Reno Loan) about 3 years ago

The bay bridge is a beautiful connector to the MD shores - a gateway and an icon to Maryland living. Miserable about doubling the toll and more, though. A few years back they allowed pedestrians to walk the one bridge span once a year, I believe it was on a Sunday. Did that and it was great! We have our own bridge of notoriety here in Solomons - the H.G. Trueman Bridge.

Posted by Susan Thompson-Solomons, MD Real Estate (The McNelis Group, LLC) about 3 years ago

Brent ... My parents owned a Mercury Villager with imitation wood grain paneling on the sides.  For summer vacations we'd load up the car with all kinds of stuff and the family dog and we'd make the long trek North to Port Clyde Maine, crossing the Bay Bridge, then the Delaware Bridge and many other bridge and tunnels along the way.  Bridges and tunnels were always amazing to me as a kid - they still are as an adult.

Susan ... The MTA didn't host the annual Bay Bridge Walk this year "Due to ongoing cost-containment measures requiring the limiting of expenditures to core activities [...] in 2011."  It also state on the MTA website that they "will reevaluate this event and, if economic conditions permit, hopes to restore the event in 2012. We regret any inconvenience and appreciate the public's cooperation and understanding."  Maybe if we start paying $5 to transit the Bay Bridge, they'll reinstate the Bay Bridge Walk!!!

Posted by Stephen Howell, Sarasota FL Homes For Sale 941-870-4141 (Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate) about 3 years ago

This morning in The Capital there was an article updating what's happening with the Bay Bridge toll increase.  In response to that article I posted the following comment:

"One way to annex the Eastern Shore is to make it so expensive that many people will think twice about living on the Eastern Shore and working, shopping, playing on the Western Shore.  Commuters with an EZPass on a commuter plan will pay less for a while, but, it's not a free ride.  Maryland could raise the income tax or the property tax and collect the same amount, but, instead the MTA has essentially by-passed everyone in an end-run to directly from collect the tolls for bridge travelers.  Most of the infrastructure improvements proposed to be paid for by the toll increase benefits many more people than those that pay tolls.  A precious few will pay the toll for all those that will benefit from the projects.  That seems pretty unfair to me."

It really seems to me that ALL Maryland residents should carry the burden fairly and that raising the toll for crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and other toll roads doesn't share the burden equally among all state residents.

Posted by Stephen Howell, Sarasota FL Homes For Sale 941-870-4141 (Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate) about 3 years ago

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