Eastern Shore reacts to proposed Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Easton
EASTON, Md. – Locals are reacting to the news that Easton could be a new connection to Western Maryland, as the plans for a new Chesapeake Bay Bridge are narrowed down.
“No matter how many spans there are, at some point in time they’re all going to be full,” says Alexa Seip, an Easton resident.
“I don’t feel that the upper Shore options are going to do anything except exacerbate the issues we have here on the upper shore,” says Bruce Armistead, a Talbot County resident.
This comes after the Maryland Transportation Authority narrowed down the 14 options for a new Bay Bridge to just three. One of them would connect Anne Arundel County with Talbot County, just north of downtown Easton.
“I was surprised to see that proposal make this next round of cuts because to me that’s an excessive amount of building, it’s controversial and they’ll have a number of issues,” says Del. Johnny Mautz, a Republican who represents District 37B.
Locals tell 47 ABC they have some major concerns, most of which relate to traffic they already experience. “We don’t have the infrastructure to support all the additional traffic that would come across that bridge. We hardly have the infrastructure to support what we have now,” says Seip.
But others say a new bridge could actually help current backups. “I sat at the bridge trying to pay the toll for about an hour and 15 minutes about a week ago. So that could be a positive,” says Joey Morton, a St. Michaels resident.
The environment is another point of concern for residents because the Eastern Shore relies on the bay. “As long as it didn’t effect the crabs or the oysters or the rock fish on the Eastern Shore of Maryland you’re good,” says Morton.
While some say the economy would get a boost, others aren’t convinced it’s worth it. “In order to accommodate those who wish to go to the beach and eat french fries that doesn’t do much for my local economy,” says Seip.
But the state predicts by the year 2040, congestion on the bay bridge could increase by two more hours. So it’s clear that something has to be done. “Fact be told, we’re about 20 years behind. We needed a new bridge about 20 years ago,” says Del. Mautz.
47 ABC also reached out to Talbot County officials. They say the option that connects the county to Anne Arundel seems “highly unlikely”, adding that it would be felt county wide with the most significant impact on land in St. Michaels.
Maryland is also considering a “no build option” meaning they have to look at possible not doing anything, which is required as part of the federal process.
There will be an open house in Easton at the Talbot County Community Center on October 3rd from 3 to 6 p.m where residents can learn more.