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AAA Calls For Bay Bridge Safety Review

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JIM WATSON/AFP/GettyImages

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Derek Valcourt began working at WJZ in September 2002. His first major...
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SANDY POINT, Md. (WJZ) — Federal authorities are being asked to take a closer look at the safety of the Bay Bridge after an accident sent a car plunging off the edge Friday night.

Derek Valcourt has more on the mounting concerns over safety.

It’s a question a lot of people are now asking: can the barriers keep vehicles from flying off the roadway in the event of an accident?

What happened Friday night when an accident caused a car to careen off the Bay Bridge into the water leaves drivers like Kelley Stewart terrified to cross.

“That is one of my biggest fears, going over that side of the bridge,” Stewart said.

“The car hit the water,” said Morgan Lake, who survived the crash.

Twenty-two-year-old Morgan Lake was behind the wheel Friday night when her car went over the edge and she calls it a miracle she survived and swam to safety.

“I felt like I was drowning and I didn’t want to,” Lake said.

But how her car managed to fly up over the jersey walls—designed to keep cars on the bridge—is the focus of a new letter from AAA Mid-Atlantic requesting the National Transportation Safety Board now investigate the safety of the barrier walls.

“And we want to ensure that the barriers on the bridge are high enough to withstand a car going over and if they are, in fact, then perhaps federal specifications need to be revised,” said Ragina Averella.

When a tractor trailer fell into the water killing the driver in 2008, state inspections led to several safety improvements to the bridge and its railing barriers.

“The barriers are safe,” said Bruce Gardner.

The acting Secretary of Maryland Transportation Authority says the 61-year-old bridge does meet federal safety standards, while acknowledging most bridges are built differently today.

“If the NTSB needs to look at it, we are certainly going to cooperate,” said Gardner.

And with more accidents on the bridge like the one Monday, many drivers feel its time federal authorities investigate further.

“It’s a bad drive over there,” said one.

The NTSB has acknowledged they did receive the letter from AAA but so far, they have not given an indication what, if anything, they plan to do about it.

Transportation Authority police say their investigation into Friday night’s accident could take several weeks.

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