As you’ve more than likely noticed, the severe weather season is upon us. Hot and humid days bring the potential for thunderstorms, many of which can produce heavy rains, dangerous lighting and powerful winds. Driving conditions can change rapidly during these storms, and the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) encourages you to remain vigilant during these times of inclement weather, as its highest priority is your safety and that of its employees.
Make sure to exercise caution and be prepared for standing water and downed trees or debris impacting roadways. Flash flooding can occur with little or no notice. Turn Around, Don't Drown. DO NOT attempt to drive through a flooded roadway. You will not be able to determine the depth of the water or the condition of the road under the water.
On all MDTA bridges, wind warnings, restrictions and traffic holds would be implemented as outlined below:
• Wind Warnings (sustained wind speeds of 30-39 mph for a continuous period of 10 minutes or more; or wind gusts persistently exceed 30 mph over a period of 15 minutes) operators of house trailers, box trailers, motorcycles, vehicles with roof-mount racks containing cargo or any other vehicle that may be subject to high winds are advised to use caution while traveling across the bridge.
• Limited Wind Restrictions (sustained wind speeds of 40-49 mph for a continuous period of 10 minutes or more; or wind gusts persistently exceed 40 mph over a period of 15 minutes) house trailers, empty box trailers or any vehicle that, in the opinion of law-enforcement personnel, may not safely cross the bridge will be prohibited from traveling the bridge. Motorists who are denied passage will be assisted with safely turning around.
• Full Wind Restrictions (sustained wind speeds exceeding 50 mph for a continuous period of 10 minutes or more; or wind gusts persistently exceed 50 mph over a period of 15 minutes) only automobiles, pickup trucks, flatbed trailers, commercial buses and heavy-laden tractor/trailers are permitted to cross the bridge. Tractor-box trailer combinations will not be permitted to cross any bridge if the gross weight is less than 64,000 pounds.
• Traffic Holds/Bridge Closure (sustained wind speeds exceeding 55 mph for a continuous period of 10 minutes or more; or wind gusts persistently exceed 55 mph over a period of 15 minutes) In the event of a sudden increase of sustained wind speeds or wind gusts that could jeopardize life or property, the MDTA may elect to discontinue the movement of all traffic across the bridge.
Please be aware, we cannot predict what phase of the wind policy a bridge will be in at a particular time of the day. Determinations are NOT made by forecasts, but by current weather conditions at each facility.
For real-time updates on major incidents follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/TheMDTA. Call 1-877-BAYSPAN (229-7726) for 24/7 conditions at the Bay Bridge.