October 10, 2019
MDOT Public Affairs
Erin Henson, 410-865-1025
Jim Joyner, 410-865-1030
Transportation Officials Announce Local Grants and Key Project Updates
(Salisbury, MD) – Deputy Transportation Secretary R. Earl Lewis Jr. met with Wicomico County officials today 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, the Motor Vehicle Administration, 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 in 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 Wicomico 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.
The deputy secretary announced an increase in funding through Highway User Revenues, made possible by bipartisan legislation signed by Governor Larry Hogan last year. Wicomico County will receive $3,555,107 in Highway User Revenues this year, an increase of $496,358 over last year's allocation. In addition, Wicomico County will receive $30,000 in highway safety grants funded through MDOT MVA, including grants to the Wicomico County Sheriff's Office and Salisbury, Fruitland and Salisbury University police departments.
MDOT team members representing the agency's business units were: Deputy Transportation Secretary Lewis from The Secretary's Office; Administrator Chrissy 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 Planning & Program Development Director Melissa Williams from the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA).
MDOT SHA completed two critical safety projects this year on US 50. New traffic signals were installed at US 50 and Sixty Foot Road in Pittsville. The $2.8 million project, which included advance warning beacons, was completed in April.
In addition, new traffic signals were installed on westbound US 50 at White Lowe Road. The $2.3 million project, which included converting Stanton Avenue to right-in, right-out movement, addresses excessive median queueing and angle crashes.
In July, MDOT completed utility relocations for the US 13 Business over Wicomico River bridge replacement. Phase 2 will include the bulk of the bridge replacement. It's currently in design.
Significant drainage improvements began over the summer on US 13 Business from South Boulevard to Calvert Street. The $7.5 million project will upgrade the stormwater management system for the commercial corridor between Peninsula Regional Medical Center and Salisbury University.
In fiscal 2020, MDOT has several resurfacing projects planned for Wicomico County totaling $6.5 million. This includes one of the busiest stretches of road on the Eastern Shore: Two miles of US 13 from Leonards Mill Pond to the Delaware line, where nearly 40,000 vehicles travel each day.
The list of resurfacing projects also includes more than two miles on the Salisbury Bypass, from the Norfolk Southern Railroad bridge to the interchange at US 13 Business; and four miles of MD 354 between Adkins Mill Pond and US 50.
MDOT SHA is working with state, county and local partners in Wicomico County to deliver bicycle and pedestrian projects using Transportation Alternatives and Bikeways grant programs. MDOT is partnering on two projects worth $943,000 in federal grants: The Del-Mar Second Street Safe Routes to School project and the Salisbury Scenic Drive Rails with Trails project. In addition, officials announced the awarding of $100,000 for the Northwest Salisbury Bikeway Phase 1 project.
MDOT MTA makes a significant investment in transit in Wicomico County, providing Shore Transit with $4.2 million in operating and capital grants. The funding supports the local transit operation in conjunction with Somerset and Worcester counties. It will pay for three medium-duty bus replacements, three small bus replacements, mobility management and ongoing preventative maintenance. In addition, $40,000 in funding will be provided to nonprofits that serve the transportation needs of seniors and people with disabilities in the county.
From MDOT MVA, Administrator Nizer provided an update on federal REAL ID compliance in Wicomico County, noting that 48.4 percent of county residents are REAL ID Ready. She also touted the fact that customer satisfaction ratings at MDOT MVA for staff professionalism, friendliness and helpfulness remains over 98 percent.
Deputy Secretary Lewis 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.
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.
For fiscal 2020, MDOT MAA will provide $2.48 million in state support for Maryland's public-use airports, including $392,000 to support an airfield pavement rehabilitation project at Salisbury Regional Airport.
At MDTA, 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 to be voted on by the MDTA Board on Nov. 21. The MDTA also is upgrading toll-collection software and modernizing customer service. All-electronic tolling is set to begin Oct. 16 at the Thomas J. Hatem Bridge in northeastern Maryland, and Oct. 30 at the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore.
In addition, a Tier 1 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) study of location and funding options for a third Chesapeake Bay crossing is moving forward, with four alternatives – three corridors and a “no-build" option – now being reviewed.
The $27 million Bay Bridge rehabilitation project was also discussed. The project involves replacing the deck surface of the westbound span right lane, which is closed 24/7 through April, with additional continuous closures Monday through Friday in May, when traffic volumes are at their lowest. Work includes deck repairs, sealing the deck and replacing existing lane signal gantries and steel rail posts.
To help keep traffic flowing, MDTA has implemented cashless tolling at the Bay Bridge from noon to 10 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays for the duration of the project. All tolls will be collected via E-ZPass and video tolling. Drivers who usually pay with cash can move through the plaza without stopping. They are mailed a statement and are charged the cash rate.
Additionally, under severe backups and with weather permitting, MDTA will allow two-way operations on the westbound span, so traffic can move in both directions at speeds of 25 to 35 mph, providing three lanes eastbound and one westbound.
Under normal operations, commercial vehicles 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 and buses will not be allowed to cross westbound, either. MDTA will reach out to commercial vehicle operators via its notification system, and also has a new tool that allows commercial operators to subscribe to #BayBridgeWork to get text and email updates.
Deputy Secretary Lewis said he was pleased to continue working with Wicomico 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 Wicomico County Youth and Civic Center was the 11th stop on the annual CTP tour. Each fall, MDOT presents its draft six-year capital program for review and comment. Meetings are 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: ctp.maryland.gov. Following input from the 24 local 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.