Bridge walk is canceled after storms are forecast

Between 40,000 and 50,000 were expected to take part

April 29, 2002|By Erika Niedowski | Erika Niedowski,SUN STAFF

The 28th annual Bay Bridge Walk, which was to be held yesterday in conjunction with the restart of the Volvo Ocean Race, was canceled because of inclement weather. The walk will be not be rescheduled this year, event organizers said.

Kerry Brandt, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Transportation Authority, said that in addition to heavy rain yesterday morning, the weather forecast called for gusty winds and thunderstorms.

"We just couldn't take a chance getting all those people up on the bridge and have a thunderstorm," she said. "They took the prudent step to cancel it."

Between 40,000 and 50,000 people were expected to take part in the 4 1/2 -mile trek across the eastbound span of the bridge, Brandt said.

The walk had been canceled only once before, in 1980, and for the same reason: inclement weather.

Brandt said that the decision to cancel was made about 6 a.m. and that word got out quickly -- on radio and TV news broadcasts and on highway message boards across the state that usually warn travelers of accidents or other traffic delays.

The walk was to have started at 9 a.m.

Brandt said eight people showed up at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, one of three sites where participants were supposed to park their vehicles and board Maryland Transportation Administration buses bound for the bridge.

Normally, the walk is held on the first Sunday in May, but the date was changed this year to coincide with the restart of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Transportation Authority officials spend three to four months planning, so yesterday's cancellation was not taken lightly.

"We're always ready and excited for it to come," Brandt said. "It was a little disappointing, needless to say."

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