ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, MD. (WJZ) — If you’re fighting traffic this week on your way to and from the Eastern Shore, you can take heart knowing your Bay Bridge headache isn’t being ignored.
The Maryland Transportation Authority has proposed three options for a new Chesapeake Bay crossing, all in Anne Arundel County, but not everyone is pleased with the options.
The three preliminary corridor alternatives include:
- Corridor 6: MD 100 to US 301 between Pasadena (Anne Arundel County), Rock Hall (Kent County) and Centreville (Queen Anne’s County)
- Corridor 7: existing Bay Bridge corridor, US 50/301 to US 50 between Crofton (Anne Arundel County) and Queenstown (Queen Anne’s County)
- Corridor 8: US 50/301 between Crofton (Anne Arundel County) and Easton (Talbot County).
The three corridors, as well as a no-build option, were selected from among 14 possible locations. Southern Maryland as well as Harford and Baltimore counties have been eliminated from consideration.
The proposal is getting pushback from Anne Arundel County residents, and County Executive Steuart Pittman expressed his concern on Wednesday, saying communities are disappointed that only one of the hearings on the corridors are in Anne Arundel County.
“People are asking how they can help to stop this, to stop all three of these processes. I think the north and the south particularly are the ones that go through existing neighborhoods, but even the Bay Bridge crossing we’ve been hearing about, that concerns from communities on that peninsula as well,” Pittman said.
The northernmost option, corridor 6, appears to go through Downs Park, corridor 7 appears to go through Sandy Point State Park and crossing 8 appears to go through a nature park.
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In response to the criticism, MDTA Executive Director Jim Ports said critics may be jumping the gun because the final reports aren’t in yet.
“It’s a two-mile swath of area that we looked at for each of those corridors,” he said. “Those things like parks, those things like historical districts, those things like critical areas are all going to be assessed.”
Pittman, however, thinks other alternatives, including public transportation, should be considered.
“We’re really talking about not even getting started for four or five years (on) a multi-billion dollar project,” he said. “If we haven’t by then started to figure out how to get cars off the road the we have much bigger problems than traffic on the Bay Bridge.
The study's 2040 projections for traffic assume the Eastern Shore will develop in ways its communities oppose. I suspect residents will protect their Eastern Shore land from development interests, and that bridge traffic can be better addressed with forward-looking public transit
— County Executive Steuart Pittman (@AACoExec) August 27, 2019
Gov. Larry Hogan sounded undeterred by the concerns, saying in a tweet Wednesday that adding a third span must happen.
“There is only one option I will ever accept: adding a third span to our existing Bay Bridge,” Gov. Larry Hogan tweeted Wednesday afternoon. “While the federal process requires multiple proposals, the data is indisputable — this option would maximize congestion relief and minimize environmental impact,”
There is only one option I will ever accept: adding a third span to our existing Bay Bridge. While the federal process requires multiple proposals, the data is indisputable— this option would maximize congestion relief & minimize environmental impact.https://t.co/yMhGIIMuoQ
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) August 28, 2019
MDTA is holding six public open houses on the plans this fall, including:
- Tuesday, Sept. 24 (6-8 p.m.) Kent County High School 25301 Lambs Meadow Rd. Worton, MD 21678
- Wednesday, Sept. 25 (6-8 p.m.) Queen Anne’s County High School 125 Ruthsburg Rd. Centreville, MD 21617
- Thursday, Sept. 26 (6-8 p.m.) Calvert High School 600 Dares Beach Rd. Prince Frederick, MD 20678
- Tuesday, Oct. 1 (6-8 p.m.) Middle River Middle School 800 Middle River Rd. Middle River, MD 21220
- Wednesday, Oct. 2 (6-8 p.m.) Anne Arundel Community College 101 College Pkwy. Arnold, MD 21012
- Thursday, Oct. 3 (6-8 p.m.) Talbot County Community Center 10028 Ocean Gateway Easton, MD 21601