Holiday flow of traffic on Bay Bridge was smooth

Ehrlich says drivers took advice to avoid peak times

June 02, 2005|By David Nitkin | David Nitkin,SUN STAFF

Holiday weekend traffic on the Bay Bridge flowed more smoothly than in the past as travelers appeared to heed suggestions to avoid peak hours, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. said yesterday.

"I want to take this opportunity to thank Marylanders for their performance in the Memorial Day weekend," said Ehrlich, who launched a campaign encouraging vacationers to go to the Eastern Shore earlier or stay later to avoid bridge congestion.

Last Thursday between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., an off-peak travel time, 10,000 vehicles crossed the bridge, the governor said, up from 4,300 during the same period a year ago.

On Friday between 3 p.m. and 10 p.m., a period of typically heavy use, 17,000 vehicles traveled the bridge, down from 22,000 a year ago.

Use of E-ZPass, the high-speed electronic toll system, is on the rise, contributing to smoother travel, the governor said. E-ZPass usage climbed from 18,790 on the Friday before Memorial Day last year to 23,193 this year, Ehrlich said. Encouraging electronic toll usage is another component of the governor's plan to ease bridge traffic.

Ehrlich said there were no backups last weekend until Sunday, when vehicles were lined up for a mile heading east. At the start of the weekend before, traffic had been backed up more than 15 miles.

The governor said that 4,000 fewer cars crossed the bridge last weekend than a year earlier.

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