As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) reminds motorists to travel during off-peak hours, stay alert and plan ahead to avoid travel delays. Based on traffic counts from previous years, Wednesday, Nov. 21, is expected to be the heaviest travel day, with many travelers also expected to hit the roads Tuesday, Nov. 20.
The MDTA anticipates a 1% increase in traffic volumes compared to last year’s Thanksgiving holiday period. Between Tuesday, Nov. 20, and Sunday, Nov. 25, the MDTAexpects more than 3.4 million travelers on its highways, bridges and tunnels:
- Fort McHenry Tunnel (I-95) – more than 770,000 vehicles.
- John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway (I-95) – nearly 940,000 vehicles.
- William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial (Bay) Bridge (US 50/301) – more than 465,000 vehicles.
- 935,000 vehicles are projected to travel the Francis Scott Key Bridge (I-695), the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel (I-895), the Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge (US 40) and the Governor Harry W. Nice Memorial/Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton Bridge (US 301) combined.
All figures represent traffic volumes in both directions.
The MDTA offers the following tips to help motorists reach their destinations safely:
Travel during off-peak hours to avoid significant delays. For the I-95 corridor, off-peak hours include:
- Tuesday and Wednesday — before 6 a.m. and after 11 p.m.
- Thursday and Friday — before 7 a.m. and after 9 p.m.
- Saturday and Sunday – before 9 a.m. and after 9 p.m.
Get there faster with E-ZPass Maryland! E-ZPass transponders are now FREE and no $1.50 monthly fee.
Visit ezpassmd.com to enroll on-line and for a list of E-ZPass “On the Go” retail locations.
IT CAN WAIT. Designated safe zones for texts and calls include the Maryland and Chesapeake House travel plazas on I-95 and other rest areas across the State.
Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest: The MDTA Police will remain vigilant and target impaired, aggressive and distracted drivers, seatbelt violators and criminal activity.
The MDTA Police and Vehicle Recovery Units will have additional patrols on duty to respond quickly to incidents and disabled vehicles during the holiday weekend. In addition, the MDTA will lift construction-related temporary lane closures at its facilities from 5 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 21, to 9 a.m. Monday, Nov. 26.
- I-895 Patapsco River Flats bridge deck and superstructure replacement continues. Current traffic pattern features two-way traffic (one adjacent lane in each direction) 24/7 on I-895 across the Patapsco Flats bridge near the Baltimore/Washington Parkway. Motorists should consider I-95 as an alternate route.
For your SAFETY and the SAFETY of other motorists and emergency personnel:
- Devote your full attention to driving – it is illegal to text and use hand-held cell phones while driving in Maryland.
- Buckle Up! Every Seat. Every Time.
- State law requires vehicles to move over when approaching an emergency, transportation, service and utility vehicle or tow truck with red, yellow or amber flashing lights. If you are unable to move over, slow down.
- Obey posted speed limits and overhead lane-control signals.
- Avoid changing lanes while traveling over bridges and through tunnels.
- Headlights are required at all times on the Bay Bridge.
- Keep your eyes on the road – do not sight-see.
- Do not tailgate – keep a safe following distance.
- Make sure your vehicle is “road ready.”
- If your vehicle becomes disabled, remain inside and call #77 for assistance.
- When contacting a dispatch center, motorists should be prepared to provide:
- The location of the emergency;
- A call-back telephone number; and
- Details of the incident/disabled vehicle or other circumstances.
The E-ZPass Maryland Customer Service Centers will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 22. Visit ezpassmd.com or use the automated system at 1-888-321-6824.
For real-time updates on major incidents follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/TheMDTA.