Bay Bridge Safety Overhaul Following Analysis of Two Tragic Accidents

Posted on Apr 12, 2014

If you’ve ever had the experience of driving over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, you won’t be surprised that is was named the ninth scariest bridge in the world by Travel and Leisure magazine. The five-mile journey from Anne Arundel to Queen Anne’s County can be incredibly nerve-racking, especially during bad weather. When storms roll over the Chesapeake, visibility becomes almost nonexistent; if you’re stuck on the middle of the bridge, you may not even be able to see the land.

At that distance, with no outlets or options to get off, it becomes frighteningly apparent that if an accident did occur, the risk of going over the side is uncomfortably high. Unfortunately, this risk has already become a tragic and fatal reality for at least two different vehicles; however, thorough analyses of these particular accidents have thankfully encouraged the Maryland Transportation Authority to initiate a short-term safety plan for drivers traveling across the bridge.

Within the last six years, two separate collisions—one fatal accident in 2008 and an injurious rear-end collision in 2010—have resulted in vehicles crashing through the concrete barriers of the bridge and plunging into the cold waters of the Chesapeake. After years of investigation on what initially caused the accidents (both determined driver error was at fault for the collisions), the real concern fell on the safety of the bridge barriers and traffic laws to help prevent these types of accidents from ever occurring again.

Scheduled MTA Bridge Precautions and Safety Improvements

Investigations, testing, and improvements are scheduled to start taking place next month to improve the concrete barriers on the sides of the bridge in order to make sure they’re resolutely capable of stopping vehicles from crashing through and falling off the bridge.

While improvements to the bridge are underway, the MTA has also come up with a new safety plan to begin this spring, which will include the following changes:

  • Drivers will be required to use headlights at all times for the entire span of the bridge.
  • At the beginning of the eastbound span, 40 mph speed limit signs will be installed, as a reminder for those departing the toll house.
  • The 40 mph zone will be extended and the 50 mph speed limit sign will be relocated on the eastbound span beyond the curve of the bridge.
  • Curve warning signs and 40 mph advisory speed plates will be installed on the left and right sides of the roadway approaching curves.
  • Mounted illuminating static signs with flashing lights will be installed to warn drivers of potential congestion and abrupt stops.
  • Electronic digital speed readout signs will be installed at strategic locations on the bridge.

We all hope these measures as well as the future improvements of the bridge will prevent any more tragic accidents. As always, remember to follow all traffic laws and always pay attention to the traffic around you. Nothing is more important than your safety and the safety of the people around you.

No matter where or how your accident occurred, you may still have questions that need to be answered. Feel free to browse our case results and articles for more information or contact us today for a free consultation.

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