Md., FHWA Lay Out Possible Locations for New Bridge Across Chesapeake Bay
The maps, part of the Chesapeake Bay Crossing Study, show options for bridge sites spanning either side of the Chesapeake Bay . On the bay's Western Shore , two potential sites begin in Harford County ; three are in Baltimore County ; five are in Anne Arundel County -- including a span alongside the existing bridge; three sit in Calvert County ; and one possible site is in St. Mary's County .
Gov. Larry Hogan announced the $5 million environmental impact study in 2016 to weigh possible new locations for a third Chesapeake Bay crossing. Results of the study, the first conducted under the National Environmental Policy Act, are expected to be released next year.
The two spans of the current crossing on Routes 50 and 301 , formally known as the Gov. William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bridge , stretch from Sandy Point on the Western Shore to Kent Island on the Eastern Shore . The original bridge was built in 1952 and was joined by a second span in 1973.
The existing structures accommodate more than 70,000 vehicles per day and are expected to remain structurally sound for nearly another 50 years. But if traffic levels grow as projected, the state says, they could see daily 13-mile backups as soon as 2040.
The new span could cost up to $10 billion , MdTA executive director Kevin Reigrut told the Baltimore Sun last year.
Marylanders on both sides of the bay have been lining up to support or oppose a new crossing -- depending on where it would be built.
Open houses to take public comment on the Bay Crossing Study scheduled for this winter have been pushed back to spring, according to MdTA's website, because the agency's federal partners in the project were "unavailable to attend coordination meetings and provide reviews needed" ahead of the public meetings due to the federal government shutdown earlier this year. New dates for the open houses have not yet been set.
Baltimore Sun reporter Colin Campbell contributed to this article.
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