Reporting Meghan McCorkell
BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Let the traffic headaches begin! Lane closures have started on the Jones Falls Expressway– the main road in and out of downtown Baltimore.
Meghan McCorkell explains it’s not just commuters worried about traffic tie-ups.
Road crews started closing those lanes at 7 p.m. Friday, and they’ll stay closed for six to eight weeks.
The orange barrels are out, and so is the word about the JFX closures.
“It’s going to be a mess,” said one driver.
“Got to wake up earlier, get to work earlier,” said another.
“It’s not even possible. I’m not even going to come that way,” a driver said.
One north and southbound lane will be shut down near the 29th Street Bridge as workers repair holes underneath the surface of the road.
The Department of Transportation says this needs to happen now.
“This isn’t something we have the luxury of waiting for because those voids could turn into a sinkhole. For public safety, we better move now,” said Frank Murphy, Department of Transportation.
The closures are not just trouble for commuters. It could impact response times for emergency officials like firefighters and medics.
“With the congestion that we anticipate it certainly could add a minute or two to that response,” Kevin Cartwright, Baltimore City Fire Department.
That’s something that has residents nervous.
“It’s just not fair. Police are going to suffer even more. They gonna have to take time getting to us,” said Angel Hardy, Baltimore City resident.
Fire officials say first responders will be using the same alternate routes as commuters and drivers need to make room.
“Those vehicles need to be mindful that ‘Hey, this could be my family member,’ so yield the right of way,” said one.
The city has mapped out several ways around I-83 so drivers can steer clear. Those who don’t may face a lot of brake lights come Monday morning.
Police officials tell WJZ they do not believe their response times will be impacted by the closures.
Transportation officials suggest taking light rail or subway if you can. If you need to drive, click here for routes around the JFX.