Maryland transit officialls emphasise safe driving, avoiding traffic ahead of 330,000 expected memorial day travellers
MARYLAND- Traffic officials are calling on drivers to expect delays, drive less aggressively, and avoid peak travel times ahead of a Memorial day weekend forecasted to bring 330,000 travelers across the Chesapeake Bay and onto Delmarva.
“Folks on the eastern shore should expect a lot of incoming traffic over this holiday period,” said Maryland Travel Authority Transportation Secretary Will Pines.
At a briefing held Friday, officials including the Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary James Ports highlighted the importance of drivers taking it easy this summer, as well as highlighting the dangers of distracted and impaired driving, particularly on the Chesapeake bay bridge.
“Crash on the bridge can cause steep delays and the majority are rear-end crashes so please just pay attention,” Ports said.
And to further keep the Bay Bridge safe, drivers heading over the bridge are being encouraged to stay along route 50 on their path to Ocean City, and avoid local streets which officials say would be used by police and emergency responders to get to the bridge in the event of an accident.
“We encourage all motorists to stay on US Route 50 and not use local roadways those local roadways are reserved for emergency responders to get to the bridge during incidents,” Pines said.
According to AAA the number of travelers is higher than in 2021 but still falls 8 percent short of the pre-pandemic travel figures in 2019 while beating out 2017 and 2018’s figures. That’s despite gas prices jumping to over $4.60 a gallon up nearly $1.50 from 2021.
But officials say the best way to avoid accidents is to avoid the traffic altogether. For Friday that means traveling before 8 am or after 9 pm, on Saturday before 8 am or after 4 pm, and on Sunday before 11 am and after 9 pm.
AAA spokeswoman Regina Ali told 47abc, that drivers should be sure to pack their patience with them- as even driving in off-hours isn’t a guarantee there won’t be delays. But despite the frustration on the roads- the high traffic may be a good sign for local businesses.
“Of the 330,000 people cross the bridge it’s safe to assume many are headed to Ocean City and that bodes well for our local tourism economy,” she said.
Officials say the public should expect backups and delays crossing the bridge this weekend, as poor weather conditions could mean a limited number of lanes.