Ever since the Fort McHenry Tunnel opened in 1985, motorists heading south on Interstate 95 have had to take an exit ramp to head that way. Staying on the main roadway would lead you to Interstate 895 and the Harbor Tunnel.
After this weekend, no more.
If the weather cooperates, the Maryland Transportation Authority will change the traffic pattern at the I-95/I-895 split Sunday morning so that the road to the Fort McHenry Tunnel becomes the default route. Travelers headed for the smaller Harbor Tunnel, opened in 1957 but only half as busy as its younger counterpart, will be the ones taking a right exit.
Teri Moss, a spokeswoman for the authority, said the new traffic configuration could give a jolt to drivers who have been navigating the old route for many years. "It's a major change in their pattern, but I think once they do it, they'll be fine."
Moss said the change, once drivers get used to it, is expected to improve traffic flow in the corridor. She noted that commuters coming from Harford County or northern Baltimore County will no longer have to merge right in order to get to downtown Baltimore.
The reconfigured interchange is a part of the larger, $1.6 billion project of adding express toll lanes to I-95 between Interstate 695 and White Marsh. That project is expected to continue through 2016.