A new span for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge is set to be built directly adjacent to the existing bridge, announced state officials today.
The Federal Highway Administration has approved Maryland Transportation Authority's recommendation of building the crossing at the existing bridge. The Bay Crossing Study, which has been underway for several years,
Building the new span next to the existing bridge would likely be the least expensive, provide the most traffic relief, and potentially have less environmental impact than other options, according to the study.
The new span is estimated to cost $5.4 billion to $8.9 billion.
MDTA's study had also considered building the bridge between Pasadena and Rock Hall/Centreville, or between Crofton and Easton. Those alternatives had drawn criticism from communities on the Eastern Shore.
Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman said in a statement:
“The Federal Highway Administration’s decision to pursue only the Route 50 corridor for Chesapeake Bay crossing enhancement was no surprise. While we would have preferred a crossing that would draw traffic to other corridors, we must now work to ensure that the next phase of study protects our existing communities and environmentally-sensitive areas. We must also explore future traffic patterns along the whole Route 50 corridor, including options for public transit, shifts from sprawl development to smart growth, and telecommuting. We must not build yesterday’s bridge tomorrow.”
Any next steps would require more review by the Environmental Protection Agency's National Environmental Policy Act review process.