BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Memorial Day holiday kicks off the summer travel season, but if you’re heading to the beach, state officials want drivers to ignore their GPS if it has a short-cut that sounds too good to be true.
“What’s happening inadvertently here is that we are gridlocking neighborhoods, especially coming home on Sunday’s we want people to stay on US 50 and not get off,” said State Highway Administration spokesperson Charlie Gischlar.
GPS apps like Waze are diverting drivers from Route 50 to smaller roads. State highway officials said that volume is clogging smaller highways like Route 8.
“And you got to think of the logistics of this too. You’re getting off of an interstate type of a road with multiple lanes and you’re going on to a two-lane highway, so eventually you are going to get stuck as well on those roads,” Gischlar said.
Another unintended consequence means first responders could get stuck in the traffic too.
Queen Anne’s County Commissioner Jim Moran said they’re using various methods to deter people from using those detours.
“We are hoping for the state to give us access to shutting down some of these ramps on Route 50 westbound. We’d like to close,” Moran said.
Commissioner Moran also said there have been nightmare scenarios where the back-up is 10 miles long, and that’s why he’s echoing the same message from the SHA to stay the course.
“So stay with Route 50, it’s your best bet eventually. You may hit some stop and go but eventually, it will break loose.” Gischlar said.