It's looking grim for the Bay Bridge next week
Next week is shaping up as a great one for avoiding the Bay Bridge.
Two-way travel will bedevil night travelers on the bridge most of the week. On Tuesday night through Friday night, the westbound span will close at 10 p.m. and reopen the following morning. On Saturday night it will close at 11 p.m. and reopen at 7 a.m. Sunday.
That means two-way travel on the two lane eastbound span -- a daunting prospect when everyone on the bridge is awake and sober and potentially deadly when they're not. I'm not faulting the Maryland Transportation Authority for allowing two-way operations under these circumstances. Maintenance work has to be done. But the authority could do a better job of encouraging all those who can to use the northern route around Elkton. For people coming from Baltimore, it's just as effective a way to get to and from many Delmarva destinations.
In choosing a route, it's wise to consider that all it takes is one bad driver to get you trapped on the bridge or its approaches for hours. A good example of that occurred last August, when a young woman who had been drinking fell asleep while driving on the bridge and set off a chain of events that cost a trucker his life and other motorists much of their day (results shown at left). It happened during two-way operations on the eastbound span.
Meanwhile, the eastbound span will have closings of its own Sunday night and Monday morning for repairs to the bridge wall.
On Sunday, one lane will close at 9 p.m. and the other wiill be shut down at midnight. That means two-way traffic on the westbound span until 5 a.m. It's not as scary as two-way operations on the narrower span, but the One Bad Driver Rule is still in force.
The challenges next week will not be confined to
daylight overnight hours. Next Monday through Thursday, one lane of the westbound span will close for preservation work from 9 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.
Deep Creek Lake, anyone?