ANNE ARUNDEL, Md. (WJZ) — The Bay Bridge rehabilitation project is causing headaches for people on both sides of the bridge because it is causing a heavy amount of traffic.
Just two weeks into the two-year, $27 million project, residents on the Eastern Shore are already fed up- and now, they are demanding answers.
“We’re missing doctor’s appointments, kids are getting to school late, getting out of school late, it’s horrible,” Anita Mills said.
“It’s like dealing with Ocean City [Maryland] traffic” Eric Denton, of Kent Island, Maryland, said.
Crews started work to rehab the Bay Bridge last Monday. Residents said closing just one westbound lane has wreaked havoc on their commute.
“What would take 10 minutes to get from my house to the grocery store here on Kent Island, takes maybe eight to 10 minutes, took me 40 minutes,” Tonya Washington said.
It’s not just those who commute over the bridge. Ryleigh Thomas is a waitress at a local restaurant.
“No one can get there in the morning, so it’s affecting my tip money,” Thomas said.
Wednesday, the MDTA hosted an event for totally different issues, but that didn’t stop residents from showing up at Kent Island High School to get answers.
Even Queen Anne’s County leaders said they’re not happy with the state transportation department.
“You want to get home from work, but you can’t get home from work,” President of Queen Anne’s County Commissioners Jim Moran said. “You’re kids are home alone. That’s a problem.”
Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot called for the project to be, “completely shut down for the fall and winter months” so that the Department of Transportation can come up with a more comprehensive plan.
“Do something rather than say to people, ‘Well you’re just going to have to sit and put up with this,'” Franchot said.
The MDTA responded. They said delaying the project would shift into spring and summer when traffic is at its peak, only magnifying the disruption.
MDTA Executive Director Jim Ports said that the project must also move forward because it’s also a safety issue.
“As we’ve torn up about 4,000 feet, we and the contractor recognized that it’s much worse than anticipated,” he said. “So it is a good thing that we are doing it now.”
Still, residents believe something has to be done.
“It’s just crazy,” Bonnie Bolin said. “You can’t go over there on a Friday or Saturday because you’re going to be stuck over there.”
“There are many things the state could have done to plan this more effectively to not have had did such a drastic impact on the local residents not only of Queen Anne’s County but the entire eastern shore,” Laura Knickman said.