After conducting a five year study, Maryland has selected a two-mile-wide corridor at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge as the best spot for an additional span, saying it would relieve the most traffic congestion for weekend beachgoers and Eastern Shore commuters.
According to The Washington Post, The Maryland Transportation Authority said its chosen corridor would tie a third span into Route 50 on both sides of the bay. Including feeder roads, it would stretch 22 miles, from an area west of the Severn River Bridge in Anne Arundel County to the U.S. 50/Route 301 split in Queen Anne’s County on the Eastern Shore.
The study found that adding a third span there would alleviate a “substantially greater” amount of traffic and affect fewer neighborhoods than two locations considered to the north and south.
The Federal Highway Administration has approved the state’s selection by issuing a “record of decision,” which would be required for federal construction funding, but the state hasn’t specified how it would pay for design and construction. Those are estimated to cost between $5.4 billion and $8.9 billion in 2020 dollars, depending on the amount of road widening or new approach lanes required.
Another more detailed analysis, expected to cost $28 million and take four to five years, will identify a specific alignment within the chosen corridor. This planned study currently has no funding.
The bridge typically carries about 118,600 vehicles daily on summer weekends and about 68,600 on non-summer weekdays, according to the state.
Source: The Washington Post