BALTIMORE — After two Maryland Transportation Authority workers were diagnosed with legionellosis, a bacterial infection that manifests as Legionaires' disease, the agency’s administrative office at the Harbor Tunnel has been closed and toll booths at that stretch of I-895 have been automated as a precaution.
MDTA said both employees have received treatment, and state and Baltimore City health officials are investigating where the two employees may have encountered the Legionella bacteria that causes the disease.
Unmanning toll booths will not affect E-ZPass lanes, which will operate as usual, MDTA said, but the cash payment lanes will use video to capture license plates and send toll statements to drivers later. Drivers are told to “KEEP MOVING through the plaza without stopping,” MDTA said in a statement. The E-ZPass Stop-In Center will also be closed, so motorists with questions must resort to the MDTA or E-ZPass website for information.
The MDTA administration building on I-895/Baltimore Harbor Tunnel toll plaza will remain closed Wednesday, though the toll plaza will remain operational.
“While there’s no confirmation that the building is the source of the illness, we believe the safety of our employees and visitors to the administration building dictates that we close the facility while tests are conducted,” said MDTA Chairman and Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn.
Legionnaires' diseases is a form of bacterial pneumonia, with symptoms that may include a cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches, headaches, confusion, and nausea, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Symptoms normally appear two to 10 days after exposure to the bacteria.