Md. holiday traffic gets smooth start


Memorial Day travel got off to a pretty smooth start in Maryland yesterday.

Traffic officials reported minor delays on the state's major roads and no major problems with rail or air travel by evening.

As Friday rush-hour traffic mingled with holiday motorists, officials with the Maryland Transportation Authority reported minor delays at the Harbor and Fort McHenry tunnels but smooth going in both directions at the Bay Bridge.

State police reported traffic congestion on Interstate 95 from Baltimore to the Harford County line yesterday evening. In addition, the Maryland Department of Transportation's Web site reported vehicle collisions that forced lane closures in Frederick and Charles counties.

The MDOT Web site also reported congestion in late afternoon on eastbound U.S. 50 in Queen Anne's County and southbound on U.S. 301 from Anne Arundel County to the Harry W. Nice Bridge across the Potomac River in Charles County.

Thursday's power failure of Amtrak's Northeast Corridor was history by yesterday evening. An Amtrak spokeswoman reported that there were no delays at Baltimore's Penn Station.

Jonathan Dean, a spokesman for the Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, said there were no incidents as of early yesterday evening.

"It's a busy weekend and it's going very smoothly," Dean said.

Dean said BWI is expecting more than 640,000 passengers during the holiday.

The American Automobile Association predicted that, based on a survey, rising gas prices would force some travelers to alter their holiday weekend plans - driving to closer destinations such as Ocean City and Hershey Park, Pa., or cutting their vacations short.

AAA projected that 37.6 million Americans would travel 50 miles or more this holiday, about a 1 percent increase from last year. Of that total, about 510,000 are expected to be Marylanders. The motorists' organization estimated 62,000 Marylanders would fly for Memorial Day vacations.

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