FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Motor Vehicle Administration Highway Safety Office – 410-628-8447
State Highway Administration Communications – 410-545-0303
BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport Communications – 410-859-7027
Maryland Transportation Authority Communications – 410-537-1017
Maryland Transit Administration Communications – 410-767-8367
Maryland Department of Transportation Urges Travelers to Slow Down,
Take Time to Create Fond Memories of Summer
(August 30, 2023) – As many Maryland families prepare to celebrate Labor Day weekend with a warm-weather getaway or family gathering, the Maryland Department of Transportation is encouraging everyone to end the summer vacation season on a high note. Put safety first, leave plenty of time for your journey and be courteous to fellow travelers.
“For many Marylanders, the Labor Day weekend is one last chance this summer to enjoy our state's beauty and make lasting memories with family and friends," said Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul J. Wiedefeld. “Whether walking, cycling or traveling by air, transit or on our highways, we all have a role in making sure everyone gets home safely. Let's enjoy the weekend and work together to avoid distractions, follow the rules of the road and look out for one another."
Nationally, AAA is projecting Labor Day weekend to be a busier travel holiday this year compared to 2022 for highway travel, air travel and cruises. In Maryland, Norwegian Cruise Line will launch its inaugural journey from the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore this weekend, joining Carnival and Royal Caribbean as major cruise lines departing and arriving in Baltimore.
The State Highway Administration expects traffic volumes to increase from Thursday, August 31 through Labor Day Monday, September 4. The department will suspend non-emergency roadwork from 3 p.m. Thursday, August 31, through 9 a.m. Tuesday, September 5. The Coordinated Highways Action Response Team – or CHART – will have units on patrol to assist disabled vehicles and clear incidents. Go to roads.maryland.gov for real-time traffic conditions.
The Motor Vehicle Administration's Highway Safety Office reminds travelers that many school districts in Maryland are now in session, so extra caution and attention to children and school bus operations are required. Motorists also are reminded to always these rules for safe travels:
- 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. Put down your phone. Stay alert for pedestrians and cyclists.
- NEVER DRIVE IMPAIRED. Impaired drivers endanger lives and face arrest, jail time, fines and legal costs. If your plans include consumption of alcohol or cannabis, plan ahead. Designate a sober driver, use public transportation or call a friend, family member or rideshare service.
- MOVE OVER. Maryland's expanded Move Over law requires drivers to move over one lane for all stopped vehicles displaying any type of caution signal or warning lights. If you cannot move over because of traffic, slow down.
- BE PREPARED. Make sure your vehicle is ready for a road trip. If you have a breakdown or an emergency, move the vehicle off the roadway, if possible. If you cannot, remain inside your vehicle and call #77 or 9-1-1 for assistance.
Learn more at ZeroDeathsMD.gov or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @ZeroDeathsMD.
Bay Bridge: Travel off-peak and stay on US 50
Travelers crossing the Bay Bridge or other Maryland Transportation Authority toll facilities over the Labor Day weekend are reminded that all-electronic (cashless) tolling is 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. Learn more and enroll in E-ZPass or sign up for Pay-By-Plate at https://www.driveezmd.com/acct-types.
Motorists are encouraged to travel off-peak if possible, particularly when heading to and from the Eastern Shore. The best times to travel the Bay Bridge over the Labor Day weekend include:
- Thursday, August 31 – before 2 p.m. and after 8 p.m.
- Friday, September 1 – before 11 a.m. and after 8 p.m.
- Saturday, September 2 – before 9 a.m. and after 6 p.m.
- Sunday, September 3 – before 11 a.m. and after 6 p.m.
- Labor Day Monday, September 4 – before 10 a.m. and after 9 p.m.
- Tuesday, September 5 – before 7 a.m. and after 10 a.m.
Motorists should stay on US 50 on both sides of the bridge to keep local roadways open for first responders and local residents. Weather and traffic volumes permitting, the Maryland Transportation Authority will implement two-way operations on the Bay Bridge to help alleviate eastbound delays. The new Automated Lane Closure System is now in place, using overhead lane-use control signals and full-color message signs, swing gates and illuminated pavement markers to alert and guide motorists when lanes are opening and closing to accommodate traffic operations. Motorists must pay attention and follow the lane signals.
For 24/7 Bay Bridge traffic updates call 1-877-BAYSPAN (1-877-229-7726) or go to baybridge.com. For updates on major incidents on toll roads follow @TheMDTA on X/Twitter.
Arrive early for 'easy come, easy go' travel at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport
Traffic at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport is expected to increase over the Labor Day weekend. Earlier this summer on Friday, June 30, the airport marked its busiest day since the pandemic with 35,421 departing passengers.
Those flying over the holiday weekend should arrive two hours prior to scheduled departure for domestic travel, and three hours early for international travel. Customers are advised to allow additional time if using the shuttle buses to travel between the parking lots or rail station and the airport terminal.
Last week, the Transportation Security Administration came to BWI Thurgood Marshall to share tips to make the checkpoint screening process go smoothly, including making sure travelers know the contents of their carry-on bags and that everything packed inside is permitted to be carried onto a flight. On its webpage, TSA has a “What Can I Bring?" feature that allows travelers to type in an item to determine if it can travel by airplane and how it should be packed.
Maryland Transit Administration services on modified schedule for Labor Day
The Maryland Transit Administration will operate on a modified schedule Labor Day, Monday, September 4. Local Bus, Light Rail and Metro Subway will operate on the Sunday/Holiday schedule, and Commuter Bus will operate Bus Route 201, running on the Weekend/Holiday schedule. MARC Train will not operate Labor Day.
Mobility will not operate subscription rides on Labor Day. Customers must call the Mobility Call Center at 410-764-8181 to reschedule September 4 rides.
For the latest information on Maryland Transit Administration service, check the website at mta.maryland.gov. Customers can also call the Transit Information Contact Center 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday at 410-539-5000, TTY 410-539-3497. To sign-up for email about service modifications and delays, go to mta.maryland.gov/enotifications.
Labor Day Holiday Travel Forecast Graphics
Labor Day weekend travel forecast graphics for the Bay Bridge and the Baltimore and Washington D.C. regions are available at the links below for use in print and online presentations.