Travel projections up for Memorial Day weekend
STEVENSVILLE — Highway travel over the long Memorial Day weekend is expected to be up over the same period last year, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic and the Maryland Transportation Authority.
AAA Mid-Atlantic is anticipating an increase of 1.9 percent in travel by car during the period and MdTA expects traffic at its toll facilities, including the Bay Bridge, to be up six percent.
According to AAA MidAtlantic’s projections, 90 percent of the 814,300 Marylanders expected to travel 50 miles or more over the long weekend, will do so by car. Seven percent will travel by air and three percent will use other modes of travel, the auto club says. The organization defines the holiday travel period as running from Thursday, May 26 to Monday, May 30.
MdTA, the agency that operates the Bay Bridge, is anticipating that more than 377,000 vehicles will cross the bridge in both directions between Friday, May 27 and Monday, May 30. Heavy travel is also expected at the agency’s other toll facilities around Maryland.
This year’s forecast reflects the highest traffic volume for Memorial Day weekend since the 2005 peak of 865,000 travelers, and is the second year that the projected total number of travelers has exceeded 800,000, AAA Mid-Atlantic said.
“Low gas prices, a growing labor market, and rising personal income appear to be the key factors in boosting overall travel this year to the second highest volume on record,” said Ragina Cooper Averella, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for the auto club. The organization said motorists traveling this weekend will be paying the lowest gas prices since 2005.
The MdTA recommends that persons driving to and from the Eastern Shore using the bridge plan ahead and travel during off-peak hours. The best times to use the bridge, it says, are Thursday and Friday of this week before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.; Saturday before 7 a.m. and after 5 p.m.; and Sunday and Monday before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
Motorists can keep track of conditions at the bridge by calling 1-877-BAYSPAN, logging onto baybridge.com to view traffic cameras; visiting facebook.com/TheMDTA and visiting twitter.com/ TheMDTA
Real-time camera images of other roads, bridges, and tunnels around the state can be found at mdta.maryland.gov
MdTA said it will lift construction-related temporary lane closures at the Bay Bridge and its other facilities, from 5 a.m. Friday, May 27 to 12 a.m. Tuesday, May 31.
MdTA Police will have additional patrols at the Bay Bridge and Intercounty Connector on Friday, May 27, looking for impaired drivers. There will also be additional personnel on duty to respond to incidents and disabled vehicles at toll facilities statewide.
Motorists are reminded that headlight use is mandatory on the Bay Bridge.