ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Vaccinations are up and coronavirus restrictions are mostly lifted just in time for Memorial Day Weekend.

Before you pack the SUV and head to Ocean City or grandma’s house, the Maryland Department of Transportation is stressing safety on the roads. After a year of reduced traffic, MDOT is anticipating high congestion on the roads starting Friday.

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“After enduring a long period of challenge and sacrifice due to the pandemic, Marylanders are anxious to spend time with family and friends at our state’s beautiful beaches, mountains and parks,” said MDOT Secretary Greg Slater.

“Please help protect yourself, your family and your fellow travelers by slowing down, avoiding distractions and making certain everyone in your vehicle is using a seat belt,” Slater said.

MDOT said routes including US 50 to Ocean City, I-70 and I-68 toward western Maryland and I-95 north toward Delaware will see heavy congestion and delays.

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The Bay Bridge, in particular, is expected to have heavy eastbound traffic Thursday to Saturday, and heavy westbound traffic Sunday and Monday as travelers head home.

According to the department, the best off-peak times to travel the Bay Bridge over the holiday weekend will be:

  • Thursday, May 27 – before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
  • Friday, May 28 – before 8 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 29 – before 8 a.m. and after 5 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 30 – before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
  • Memorial Day Monday, May 31 – before 8 a.m. and after 11 p.m.

Leave extra time to get to the airport too. MDOT said last Thursday was the busiest day for departing passengers since the beginning of the pandemic, and plane tickets are only selling faster.

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Remember, you’ll still need a face mask in airport terminals, per federal regulations.

CBS Baltimore Staff