Busy holiday travel ends with few backups, accidents

U.S. 50 has minor snags

BWI reports quick lines

July 06, 2004|By Alec MacGillis | Alec MacGillis,SUN STAFF

Despite traffic volumes that were expected to approach July Fourth holiday records, most homebound travelers yesterday found their routes relatively free of the crippling backups that many have come to dread at the close of three-day summer weekends.

Police and transportation officials around the state reported heavy traffic yesterday afternoon and evening, but few serious accidents or major logjams.

The slowest going was on U.S. 50 heading west from the beach resorts across the Eastern Shore to the Bay Bridge. State police on the Shore reported several fender-benders and backups at U.S. 50 intersections and in the run-up to the bridge.

"It's pretty nasty. We're getting a lot of wrecks," said Tfc. Michael A. Lesniowski of the Centreville barracks.

But the accidents were mostly minor and did not require lane closures, Lesniowski said. And by early evening, traffic was flowing steadily toward the bridge, according to police and live video feeds on the state Department of Transportation's Web site. West of the bridge, the flow improved further.

"If they can get over the bridge, they'll be all right," said Cpl. Mark Price of the Annapolis barracks.

Police and officials at Mid-Atlantic AAA had predicted the busiest Fourth of July weekend in a decade.

Baltimore-Washington International Airport also was bustling, with about 75,000 travelers passing through yesterday. It was just part of the 514,000 travelers expected for the eight-day period from June 30 to July 7 -- which would be a 7 percent increase over last year. Despite the large numbers, lines moved quickly all day, thanks partly to enlarged security checkpoint areas, said BWI spokeswoman Tracy Newman.

"Things have been running really smooth this weekend," she said. "Obviously when you move that many through the airport, it's not free and clear, but even when there's been a little delay, they're making sure they keep things moving."

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