MDTA sets on­line cross­ing talk

The Star Democrat - - LOCAL - By JACK RODGERS jrodgers@thekent­coun­tynews.com

CH­ESTER­TOWN — The Mary­land Trans­porta­tion Au­thor­ity will host an on­line meet­ing at 7 p.m. Wed­nes­day, Nov. 15, dis­cussing the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Cross­ing Study.

The meet­ing will in­clude a pre­sen­ta­tion on the project, in­for­ma­tion on the study area and a sched­ule — with ball­park dates for the pub­lish­ing of find­ings.

Sched­uled to present are mem­bers of the MDTA’s project team and Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Kevin Reigrut. They will be speak­ing briefly about project specifics and com­ple­tion time.

The gen­eral pur­pose of the $5 mil­lion study is to find route al­ter­na­tives to the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Bridge, in ad­di­tion to fi­nan­cial fea­si­bil­ity and en- vi­ron­men­tal im­pact of con­struc­tion.

Re­searchers will be an­a­lyz­ing a broad 100-mile area of the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay — span­ning from Havre de Grace to the Vir­ginia line. The process will in­clude scop­ing, traf­fic analysis and pur­pose and need de­vel­op­ment along the Eastern Shore.

The ear­li­est find­ings to be pub­lished will come fall 2019. The study is es­ti­mated for com­ple­tion the fol­low­ing year.

The topic has been highly de­bated among res­i­dents and of­fi­cials in Kent County who are con­cerned about any idea of a Bay cross­ing com­ing to the county. Be­fore the cur­rent Bay Bridge was built, Kent County was eyed for a po­ten­tial cross­ing.

Del. Jay Ja­cobs, R-36-Kent and a mem­ber of the House En­vi­ron­ment and Trans­porta­tion Com­mit­tee, re- mains op­posed to the idea of a third Bay Bridge in Kent County. Ja­cobs spoke briefly at an an­nual Kent County Cham­ber of Com­merce leg­isla­tive meet­ing in Jan­uary, say­ing such a pro­posal made “no sense.”

He re­it­er­ated his con­cerns in a phone in­ter­view Oct. 31.

“I think it would dra­mat­i­cally change life on the Eastern Shore as we’ve be­come ac­cus­tomed to,” Ja­cobs said. “Peo­ple come here to re­tire, for the wa­ter­front. The con­struc­tion may change that way of life.”

Ja­cobs, a for­mer mayor of Rock Hall, has been in fa­vor of less in­va­sive modes of trans­porta­tion for the Shore, in­clud­ing fast-paced fer­ries. Th­ese plans es­sen­tially fell apart dur­ing their con­cep­tion in 2008, run­ning par­al­lel with the re­ces­sion, he said.

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