FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MDOT SHA Communications – 410-545-0303
MDTA Communications – 410-537-1017
MDOT MTA Communications – 410-767-8367
MDOT MAA/BWI Marshall Communications – 410-859-7027
Slow Down, Allow Extra Time and Close the Summer Season Safely
(September 1, 2021) – For many Marylanders and visitors to our state, the Labor Day weekend signals the official end of the summer season and one last opportunity for warm-weather getaways and gatherings with family and friends. The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) wishes everyone a happy Labor Day weekend and reminds all travelers that no matter where their journeys take them, it's important to make safety the key element of every celebration.
“We've seen Marylanders travel this summer in great numbers, enjoying the state's beauty and making great memories with friends and loved ones," MDOT Secretary Greg Slater said. “As many families travel over the Labor Day weekend, we all play a role to ensure summer ends on a high note by remembering to look out for one another, avoid distractions and make safety our top priority."
MDOT State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) expects traffic volumes to increase from Thursday, September 2, through Labor Day Monday, September 6. Motorists should travel off-peak if possible, particularly when heading to and from the Eastern Shore. MDOT SHA will suspend non-emergency roadwork from 3 p.m. Thursday, September 2, through Tuesday, September 7, and emergency patrols will be on duty across the state to assist disabled vehicles and clear incidents. Go to roads.maryland.gov for real-time traffic conditions and other information.
The MDOT Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) Highway Safety Office is urging travelers to make sure seat belts are in use by everyone in vehicles, as seat belts remain the first line of defense in the event of a crash. Buckle up – every seat, every ride. Additionally, park the phone and eliminate all distractions while driving. If your celebrations involve alcohol, plan ahead by designating a sober driver, using public transportation or calling a friend, family member or rideshare service. Learn more at ZeroDeathsMD.gov or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @ZeroDeathsMD.
Travelers should remember some school districts in Maryland are now in session, so extra caution and attention to children and school bus operations are required. Additionally, remember that face covering precautions remain in place for transit use, air travel and at some businesses, so travelers should be prepared for instances when a face covering may be needed.
MDOT reminds motorists to follow these rules for safe travels over the holiday weekend and always:
- Buckle up. It's the law. Make sure all passengers are using seat belts.
- Slow down. Observe all posted speed limits.
- Travel off-peak. Allow extra time for unexpected delays.
- Avoid distractions. Ignore your cell phone, and be alert for pedestrians and bicyclists.
- Don't drive impaired. Impaired drivers endanger the lives of themselves and others, and may face arrest, jail time, fines and legal costs. Designate a sober driver or use a taxi or ride service if needed.
- Be prepared. In an emergency, dial #77 to reach Maryland State Police. If you must stop for a roadside emergency, assess the situation. If you remain in your vehicle while help is on route, stay buckled and face forward. If you must exit the vehicle, stand as far away from your vehicle and the roadway as possible.
- Move over when approaching an emergency, service or utility vehicle or tow truck with flashing lights. If you can't move over, slow down.
Bay Bridge: Travel off-peak and use E-ZPass
Travelers crossing the Bay Bridge or other Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) toll facilities over the Labor Day weekend are reminded that all-electronic (cashless) tolling is now permanent at all Maryland toll facilities. Tolls are collected through E-ZPass, Video Tolling and Pay-By-Plate – which allows tolls to be automatically billed to the driver's registered credit card, with no need for a transponder or pre-paid toll deposit. E-ZPass remains the most cost-effective way to travel toll roads in Maryland, saving drivers up to 77% compared to higher rates. E-ZPass transponders are free, and motorists can sign up at DriveEzMD.com.
The MDTA recommends traveling off-peak when heading to and from the Eastern Shore. The best times to travel the Bay Bridge over the Labor Day weekend include:
- Friday, September 3 – before 8 a.m. and after 8 p.m.
- Saturday, September 4 – before 6 a.m. and after 8 p.m.
- Sunday, September 5 – before 8 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
- Monday, September 6 – before 8 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
Weather and traffic volumes permitting, the MDTA will implement two-way operations on the Bay Bridge to help alleviate eastbound delays. Motorists MUST pay attention and adhere to overhead lane signals. torists are reminded to stay on US 50 on BOTH sides of the bridge to keep local roadways open for first responders and local residents. For 24/7 Bay Bridge traffic call 1-877-BAYSPAN (1-877-229-7726) or visit Baybridge.com to view real-time traffic cameras. For real-time updates on major incidents follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/TheMDTA.
BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport passengers should arrive early for travel
Travelers using BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport over the holiday weekend should give themselves plenty of time for check-in, as passenger traffic is expected to increase. Passengers should arrive two hours prior to scheduled departure for domestic travel, and three hours early for international travel. Air travel has been building in recent months. Friday, July 16, was the busiest day for departing passengers since the beginning of the pandemic. Through late August, departing passenger traffic is up 129% from the same period in August 2020, though down 28% from August 2019.
Those picking up passengers are asked to use the Cell Phone Lot or park in the Hourly Garage to await the flight arrival. Federal regulations continue to require face coverings or masks inside airport terminals and on commercial aircraft. About 95% of airport food and retail concessions are now open at BWI Marshall, and the airport has reopened long-term parking.
BWI Marshall remains focused on safe travel. Health and safety initiatives include enhanced cleaning and sanitation; hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the terminal; and protective barriers at security checkpoints, ticket counters and information desks. Health information is provided on information displays and overhead announcements. For details, go to https://www.BWIairport.com/COVID19.
MDOT MTA services on modified schedule on Labor Day
For those using transit over the holiday weekend, MDOT Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) will operate services under normal schedules on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, September 3-5.
MDOT MTA service will operate on a modified schedule Monday September 6, for the Labor Day holiday. CityLink and LocalLink buses, Light RailLink and Metro SubwayLink will operate on the Sunday/Holiday schedule, and Commuter Bus will not operate except for Bus Route 201, which will run on the Sunday/Holiday schedule. MARC Train will not operate September 6. MobilityLink will not operate subscription rides. Customers must call the MobilityLink Call Center at 410-764-8181 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to reschedule September 6 rides.
To reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to protect our customers and team members, all riders using public transit including MARC Train, MTA local bus, light rail, metro subway, commuter bus, and MobilityLink service are required to wear face coverings. Riders must keep the face covering on for the entire duration of the trip. The face covering requirement applies for all passengers, vaccinated or unvaccinated.