OCEAN CITY, Md. — A longtime plan to improve Route 90 (Ocean City Expressway) is getting a $15 million push from Gov. Larry Hogan.
Launched by former Gov. William Donald Schaefer in 1987 as the "Reach the Beach" project, the plan to upgrade the Route 90 corridor is the top transportation priority for Ocean City and Worcester County, says the state. The preliminary plan features the expansion of Route 90 where it crosses St. Martin River and Assawoman Bay, just before Ocean City.
The new $15 million funding will move the "Reach the Beach" plan from the planning to the design phase, announced Hogan today.
The plan targets the 12-mile stretch of Route 90 between Route 50 and Coastal Highway. More information about it can be found here.
The highway was originally built in the 1970s as a way "to get beachbound travelers to growing areas of northern Ocean City," said Hogan's administration in a press release. It's now used by about 33,000 vehicles daily on summer weekends, at the Route 50 junction. Ocean City gets hundreds of thousands of visitors each weekend in the summer, says the state.
At my direction, we are providing $15 million to accelerate the planning phase and to move MD 90 improvements ahead into the design phase, which is an important and critical step closer to making this a shovel-ready project.— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) June 13, 2022
Details: https://t.co/vIVqFMufYk pic.twitter.com/FUdByKsG1X
Hogan is touting the Route 90 corridor study as a package deal alongside the ongoing plans for a new Bay Bridge crossing. He announced Friday the dedication of $28 million to "immediately" move that study to its second phase.
In April, state officials announced that a new span for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge was approved to be built directly adjacent to the existing bridge.
This morning, speaking from Worcester County, Hogan said in a statement:
After decades of inaction, our goal has been to finally fulfill that ‘Reach the Beach’ mission. By moving forward on a new Chesapeake Bay crossing and with the modernization of MD 90—the Gateway to Ocean City—we will be providing a safe, efficient, 21st century transportation system for the Eastern Shore, which will allow us to continue to grow our economy, and which will ensure that Marylanders and visitors alike can enjoy all that Ocean City and the Eastern Shore have to offer.
The State Highway Administration is conducting a survey and will host a virtual public meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 21. More information is available here.