New Bay Bridge Span: Anne Arundel County Will Discuss Proposed 3rd Crossing
ANNAPOLIS, MD — Anne Arundel County has another chance to comment on a potential third span of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
Maryland has debated building another crossing for years. The state is now making some progress on a required study before seeking approval for another span.
Public meetings are part of that study. The Maryland Transportation Authority is hosting three town halls this month to hear feedback.
The Anne Arundel County meeting is on Thursday evening. There are also two other open houses and an online survey. Information on how to share your thoughts is posted at the bottom of this story.
How We Got Here
A potential third span is still years away.
Highway officials are currently conducting a traffic and environmental review to determine the best way to relieve traffic around the Bay Bridge.
This analysis is required for all projects that need federal funding or approval under the National Environmental Policy Act. The Federal Highway Administration manages this process. The evaluation has two tiers.
Maryland conducted a Tier 1 Study from fall 2017 through spring 2022. This phase evaluated more than a dozen corridors to construct a new span. The study also considered the potential for not building a new span at all.
Tier 1 concluded that the best option is to build a third span near the existing two crossings in Annapolis. This area, known as Corridor 7, is 22 miles long and 2 miles wide. It runs from the Severn River Bridge on the Western Shore to the split of U.S. Route 50 and U.S. Route 301 on the Eastern Shore.
This $28 million Tier 2 Study started in June 2022.
Over the next several years, the study will examine the traffic and environmental effects of building a crossing somewhere within this corridor. It will also evaluate alternatives like not building another crossing and using ferries or transit instead.
Officials expect to finish Tier 2 in fall 2026.
At that point, Maryland will have an official suggestion on if and where exactly it should build a third crossing.
The funding, design and construction processes would likely take several years beyond that.
Reactions To Bay Bridge Proposals
Leaders agree that traffic continues to be a problem near the Bay Bridge. With 27.6 million crossings in 2019, the bridge has been one of Maryland's worst bottlenecks for years.
Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman was unhappy and unsurprised with the state's preferred corridor near Annapolis, but he wants to make the best of the situation.
"While we would have preferred a crossing that would draw traffic to other corridors, we must now work to ensure that the next phase of study protects our existing communities and environmentally-sensitive areas," Pittman said in an April 2022 press release. "We must also explore future traffic patterns along the whole Route 50 corridor, including options for public transit, shifts from sprawl development to smart growth, and telecommuting."
Patch contacted Gov. Wes Moore's office to hear about his Bay Bridge goals, but his team was not able to immediately comment. We will include Moore's stance in a future story.
Former Gov. Larry Hogan always preferred building an additional span in Annapolis.
"There is only one option I will ever accept: adding a third span to our existing Bay Bridge," Hogan said on Twitter in 2019. "While the federal process requires multiple proposals, the data is indisputable — this option would maximize congestion relief and minimize environmental impact."
By 2040, Hogan said traffic is projected to grow by 22 percent on non-summer weekdays and 14 percent on summer weekends.
How To Participate In Town Halls, Survey
The Anne Arundel County town hall will happen Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Broadneck High School, located at 1265 Green Holly Drive.
A Queen Anne's County meeting will follow on Tuesday at the same time at Kent Island American Legion Post 278, located at 800 Romancoke Road.
A virtual open house rounds out this spurt on Sept. 14 at the same time. Details on how to join that online meeting are posted at baycrossingstudy.com.
The town halls will not have a formal presentation, but attendees can ask questions and share their thoughts. Meeting materials are posted here.
Anybody who needs accommodations for their language or disability can learn how to get assistance at this link.
In addition, the state has an anonymous equity survey that's open until Oct. 16. The survey is available to everybody here.
Residents can also share their thoughts in writing by midnight on Oct. 16 by:
- Submitting an electronic survey/comment form at baycrossingstudy.com/public-involvement/submit-comments
- Emailing comments to email@example.com
- Printing and mailing a completed survey/comment form to:
- Bay Crossing Study
- 2310 Broening Highway Baltimore, MD 21224
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