Traffic head east over the Severn River via US 50 may gain a reprieve as a new eastbound lane, the span’s fourth, opened to traffic Thursday.
The new lane will remain open during the day, but nighttime closures may occur as needed between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday. The project cost $22.8 million, according to the Maryland Department of Transportation, part of $3.7 billion in statewide road projects. The contract was awarded to Joseph B. Fay Construction, Inc. of Glen Burnie, Md.
After adjusting the median and painting traffic lines, the Severn River Bridge now has seven lanes of through traffic – four heading east and three heading west. The project began in September 2017 and was opened prior to the busy summer travel months that see a large increase in traffic as vacationers pass through the Eastern Shore en route to Maryland and Delaware beaches.
“For far too long, this stretch of Route 50 has been a serious bottleneck that was a constant headache for many Marylanders, as well as commuters and vacationers trying to reach the Eastern Shore,” Governor Hogan said in a statement issued Monday. “I am pleased that with the opening today, we have successfully completed this project a full month ahead of schedule, and just in time for summer. Motorists will now enjoy a safer, more efficient ride through Annapolis and to the Eastern Shore.”
In non-summer months, the bridge averaged roughly 125,000 cars each day, a number projected to grow to 160,000 by 2040, according to numbers released by the state. During Fridays in the summer, that number grows to roughly 145,000 daily travelers, which is projected to grow to more than 186,000 by 2040.