October 1, 2019
MDOT Public Affairs
Erin Henson, 410-865-1025
Jim Joyner, 410-865-1030
Transportation Officials Announce Local Key Project Updates
(CENTREVILLE, MD) – Deputy Transportation Secretary R. Earl Lewis Jr. today met with Queen Anne's County officials to discuss the Draft FY 2020–2025 Consolidated Transportation Program (CTP), which details the Maryland Department of Transportation's (MDOT) draft six-year capital budget. Today's meeting was part of MDOT's annual tour of 23 Maryland counties and Baltimore City to update local officials and the public on the Hogan administration's $15.3 billion investment over the next six years in transit, highways, Motor Vehicle Administration facilities, the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI Marshall). Officials also discussed the Maryland Transportation Authority's $3.1 billion in additional investments for Maryland's toll roads and bridges.
“We have delivered a record program in record time and will continue improving our services to Marylanders," said MDOT Secretary Pete K. Rahn.
In 2015, the Hogan Administration outlined a program of historic investment in infrastructure. Over the last four years, MDOT has completed 1,069 projects totaling nearly $5.9 billion.
Deputy Secretary Lewis outlined key updates on transportation investments in Queen Anne's County and across Maryland. Statewide, there are 718 airport, highway, transit, port, bicycle, and Motor Vehicle Administration construction projects underway, with a value of $7.2 billion.
In addition to these projects, the deputy secretary announced an increase in funding through Highway User Revenues, made possible by bipartisan legislation signed by Governor Larry Hogan last year. Queen Anne's County will receive more than $1.47 million in Highway User Revenues this year, an increase of $121,000 over last year's allocation. Additionally, $8,500 in highway safety grants will go to the Queen Anne's County Sheriff's Office through MDOT MVA.
MDOT team members representing the agency's business units were: Deputy Transportation Secretary Lewis; Administrator Christine Nizer from the MDOT Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA); Local Transit Support Director Travis Johnston from the MDOT Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA); Administrator Greg Slater from the MDOT State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA); Regional Aviation Assistance Director Ashish Solanki from the MDOT Maryland Aviation Administration (MDOT MAA); and Executive Director Jim Ports from the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA).
The $27 million Bay Bridge rehabilitation project was one of the main topics of discussion. The project involves replacing the deck surface of the westbound span right lane, which is closed 24/7 from October to April, with additional continuous closures Monday through Friday in May, when traffic volumes are at their lowest. Work also includes making deck repairs, sealing the bridge deck and replacing existing lane signal gantries and steel rail posts.
MDTA is taking a number of steps to minimize traffic backups during the project, including the implementation of cashless tolling at the Bay Bridge from noon to 10 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays until further notice. All tolls will be collected electronically, with no cash accepted. Drivers who usually pay with cash will move through the plaza without stopping and will be mailed a statement to pay their toll at the cash rate.
MDTA officials will closely monitor traffic backups. On Thursdays and Fridays, under severe backups and weather permitting, MDTA will implement two-way operations on the westbound span so traffic can move in both directions at reduced speeds, providing three lanes eastbound and one westbound. During two-way operations, speed will be restricted to 25 to 35 mph. MDTA Police will travel the westbound span for enforcement and to help slow vehicles down. The public can help by staying alert, keeping speeds down and maintaining a safe distance.
Even under normal operations, commercial trucks are not permitted to travel eastbound on the westbound span during two-way operations. During this two-way operation, due to narrow lanes, commercial trucks will not be allowed to cross westbound either. As we do with wind restrictions, we will reach out to truck and commercial vehicle operators with our normal notification system.
Officials also discussed the ongoing Tier 1 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) study of potential locations and funding options for a third Chesapeake Bay crossing. Three corridor alternatives and a “no-build" option have been identified for review. Kent County hosted a public meeting about the study on September 24.
Governor Hogan's latest proposed toll rate reductions could save Marylanders $28 million over the next five years. The proposal to reduce tolls for a third time under the Hogan administration is scheduled for a vote by the MDTA Board on Nov. 21.
And the MDTA is upgrading toll-collection software and modernizing customer service. All-electronic tolling is set to begin in Oct. 16 at the Thomas J. Hatem Bridge in northeastern Maryland. and Oct. 30 at the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore.
On the transit side, MDOT MTA is making significant investment in Queen Anne's County through the operation of two commuter bus routes, as well as by providing $646,000 in operating and capital grants to support the local County Ride transit operation. This funding will be used to replace two small buses and for ongoing preventive maintenance.
Transportation officials also provided updates on major highway and system preservation projects.
In northern Queen Anne's County, MDOT SHA is resurfacing five miles of southbound US 301 from the Kent County line south to MD 290. The $1.8 million project will be completed this fall.
A $5.3 million project to replace the Gravel Run and Old Mill Stream bridges in Centreville is on schedule for completion by the end of this year. MDOT SHA also plans to repave MD 213 through Centreville. The MD 213 project is scheduled to begin in spring 2020.
In Grasonville, completion of the nearly 1.25-mile Cross County Connector trail extension is expected by the end of this year. MDOT SHA provided contract administration and oversight for the $3.4 million project, while $2.8 million in Transportation Alternatives funding was included.
Deputy Secretary Lewis also highlighted the latest records at the Port of Baltimore, including its handling of 11 million tons of general cargo in fiscal 2019. The port remains No. 1 in the nation for autos and roll on/roll off machinery. The port is ninth among U.S. ports for dollar value of cargo with $59.7 billion last year, and 11th for total foreign cargo tonnage with 43 million tons.
BWI Marshall is experiencing steadily growing passenger traffic with new airlines and service to new domestic and international markets. In 2018, BWI Marshall set a new all-time annual record for passenger traffic by exceeding 27.1 million passengers.
Deputy Secretary Lewis said he was pleased to continue working with Queen Anne's County officials on a highway safety plan to address personal injuries crashes in Maryland. The state experienced 513 roadway fatalities in 2018.
Maryland's Strategic Highway Safety Plan targets the most common causes of roadway fatalities in Maryland: impaired driving; speeding; not wearing seat belts; distracted driving; and not using crosswalks. Deputy Secretary Lewis encouraged residents and officials in attendance to sign MDOT's Traffic Safety Pledge, found at: http://www.mdot.maryland.gov/newMDOT/SafetyPledge.html
The meeting at the Liberty Building in Centreville was the sixth stop on the annual CTP tour. Meetings are being held at locations in all 23 Maryland counties and Baltimore City. To view the full CTP tour schedule, visit: https://bit.ly/2mhwlHn. To view the Draft CTP, visit: www.ctp.maryland.gov.
Each fall, MDOT presents its draft six-year capital program to every county and Baltimore City for review and comment. Following input from the 24 jurisdictions, MDOT prepares a final budget to present to the General Assembly in January.
Follow MDOT on Twitter at @MDOTNews and stay updated on the CTP Tour with #MDOTCTPtour. Find the latest news at http://www.mdot.maryland.gov/newMDOT/News/News.html and view MDOT photos on Flickr.