Wedged boat carrier causes long backup at Bay Bridge

12-foot trailer too wide for construction lane on westbound span

February 15, 2002|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

A boat carrier became wedged between construction barriers on the Bay Bridge yesterday, causing a backup that at one point stretched to the Kent Narrows, police said.

Delays crossing the westbound span lasted from 11:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m., as cars waited in a four-mile backup, said Kerry E. Brandt, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Transportation Authority.

The carrier and its boat had to be removed by a heavy-duty tow truck that backed the wide-load vehicle off the bridge, Brandt said.

Since Jan. 25, the center lane of the westbound span has been closed, making it impossible for vehicles more than 10 feet wide to cross the bridge in that direction.

The authority provides daily escorts for wide vehicles seeking to cross the bridge westbound from 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., when it closes the eastbound span to allow the wide vehicles to cross.

Maryland Transportation Authority officials said the driver of the 12-foot-wide boat carrier, who has a commercial license, apparently realized he had missed the opportunity to cross the bridge. Officials said he had called police asking for special permission to cross the bridge.

When that request was denied, they said, the driver tried to cross through the narrow lanes on the westbound span.

Richard Lee Miller, 46, of Opopka, Fla., was charged with failure to comply with restrictions on his hauling permit and two counts of failing to keep a proper driver log, citations that carry a potential $380 in fines, authorities said.

Miller also had to reapply for his permit to cross the bridge, meaning that today is the earliest he would able to continue his trip to Virginia, Brandt said.

Normally, the daily span closures cause 30-minute delays, and backups that are less than a mile, transportation officials said.

After April 15, all construction and lane closures on the bridge will take place at night.

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