Record traf­fic eyed for week­end’s hol­i­day rush

Record Observer - - News - By JACK SHAUM jshaum@kibay­

It’s look­ing as if the long Fourth of July hol­i­day week­end is go­ing to be a record breaker on Mary­land high­ways.

AAA Mid-At­lantic is an­tic­i­pat­ing that from Thurs­day, June 30 through Mon­day, July 4, there will be 773,000 Mary­lan­ders trav­el­ing 50 miles or more from home by car. That’s a 1.3 per­cent in­crease over the same hol­i­day pe­riod last year and an all-time record for the In­de­pen­dence Day hol­i­day.

The week­end is also shap­ing up as a very busy one at the Wil­liam Pre­ston Lane Jr. Me­mo­rial Bridge, where the Mary­land Trans­porta­tion Au­thor­ity is an­tic­i­pat­ing “heavy traf­fic vol­umes” for the same pe­riod, ac­cord­ing to an MdTA state­ment.

How­ever, be­cause the Fourth of July hol­i­day does not fall on the same day of the week such as Thanks­giv­ing or Me­mo­rial Day, the MdTA does not make any com­par­isons with the pre­vi­ous year.

Weather per­mit­ting, twoway traf­fic op­er­a­tions will be im­ple­mented to help al­le­vi­ate de­lays on the bridge. To avoid con­ges­tion, the agency is rec­om­mend­ing that mo­torists travel at off­peak pe­ri­ods: Thurs­day be­fore 10 a.m. and af­ter 10 p.m.; Fri­day and Sun­day be­fore 8 a.m. and af­ter 10 p.m.; Satur­day be­fore 6 a.m. and af­ter 7 p.m.; and Mon­day be­fore 9 a.m. and af­ter 10 p.m.

Real-time up­dates on ma­jor in­ci­dents at the bridge can be got­ten at twit­ter. com/TheMDTA. Trav­el­ers can also call 1-877-BAYSPAN for recorded bridge traf­fic con­di­tions or log onto www.bay­ to view traf­fic cam­eras, MdTA said. Driv­ers are re­minded that head­lights are manda­tory on the bridge.

Adding to the con­ges­tion in the county and on the Bay Bridge this week­end is the Bay Bridge Brawl, spon­sored by Ho­gan Lax. Lacrosse tour­na­ments will take place from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fri­day, July 1, and Satur­day, July 2, at fields from Kent Is­land to White Marsh Park north of Centreville.

AAA Mid-At­lantic said that not only does it ex­pect record traf­fic in Mary­land, it also ex­pects record traf­fic na­tion­wide where 36.3 mil­lion peo­ple are ex­pected to travel by car — also a 1.3 per­cent in­crease over last Fourth of July. Travel by car rep­re­sents 86.9 per­cent of all Mary­lan­ders who will be trav­el­ing, with air, bus, rail, and other meth­ods han­dling the rest, the or­ga­ni­za­tion said.

“With schools now out of ses­sion, Fourth of July travel is ex­pected to be even more ro­bust than Me­mo­rial Day week­end, par­tic­u­larly since gas prices con­tinue to re­main at their low­est level in over a decade,” AAA MidAt­lantic’s Rag­ina Cooper Averella said in a state­ment. “A more con­fi­dent con­sumer, and ris­ing eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity are also off­set­ting a cool labor mar­ket to help boost hol­i­day traf­fic.”

The most re­cent fig­ures from the auto club show that the av­er­age price of gas in Mary­land is $2.29 a gal­lon, while the na­tional av­er­age is $2.32 a gal­lon. The low­est price for gaso­line in the state, ac­cord­ing to re­cent fig­ures, is in Sal­is­bury, where gas is av­er­ag­ing $2.11 a gal­lon, com­pared to last year when the price was $2.67.

Cur­rent gas prices are the low­est since 2005 and are ex­pected to re­main “rel­a­tively steady through­out the sum­mer,” ac­cord­ing to AAA Mid-At­lantic.

In­for­ma­tion on gas prices is avail­able by log­ging onto­elfinder.

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