Reporting Monique Griego
SANDY POINT, Md. (WJZ) — The morning commute for drivers near the Eastern Shore was a real headache after the Bay Bridge was shut down throughout rush hour for an emergency inspection.
Monique Griego has more on the concerns over the bridge’s integrity.
Backed up for miles. Bay Bridge commuters ran into a traffic nightmare after the westbound span of the bridge was shut down for an emergency safety inspection.
“It was a total standstill from Exit 29 all the way to the bridge,” said driver Don Urch.
Concerns over the bridge’s integrity arose Monday night after workers conducting routine maintenance felt the bridge move in a wave-like motion.
The Maryland Transportation Authority kept the westbound span closed throughout Tuesday morning as engineers and inspectors checked for problems.
“I’m glad they took it seriously for safety,” said Urch.
Just before noon, the MdTA reopened the bridge, saying it was completely safe and there was no structural damage.
Transportation officials now say they believe that movement was caused by a gust of wind that caught a very large tarp that was being used to catch debris for a painting project on the bridge.
“It was not so much the velocity of the wind as we believe the direction of where the wind came from,” said an official.
Back in 2008, a deadly crash on the bridge led to an investigation that revealed structural and corrosion problems the state paid millions to fix.
While the MdTA is adamant there is nothing to worry about, some commuters are still feeling a little uneasy.
“I’m still afraid to drive until it’s really confirmed,” said Mohammed Zreik.
Transportation officials say the amount they believe the bridge moved is well within its tolerance or else there would have been damage.
The MdTA has taken the tarps and shut down the painting until they can find another way to catch the debris.