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Second Thomas Johnson Bridge Span is Desperately Needed

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

Posted on December 04, 2005:

Senator Dyson This week, I re-submitted a bill that will be ready for introduction on the first day of the 2006 General Assembly Session that I feel is absolutely vital to alleviate our terrible traffic flow in St. Maryís and Calvert County, but will also enhance our safety.

Last year, I submitted Senate Bill 292. This legislation would have required the Secretary of Transportation to include sufficient funds in the Consolidated Transportation Program for Fiscal Years 2006 through 2011 for the planning, design and construction of a second companion span of the Governor Thomas Johnson Bridge which links Calvert and St. Maryís counties.

This bill is entirely necessary for numerous reasons. First of all, it is practical. Simply put, we need a second span to ease the traffic congestion that piles up there every rush hour and whenever there is an accident on the two-lane creaky structure. Traffic starts backing up well before the bridge on the St. Maryís side especially just about 4 p.m. every weekday as commuters leave their jobs. Everyone I talk to who makes that trek, complains that they spend way too much time stuck in their lane as they wait for the traffic to crawl across the bridge.

Gridlock is a normal everyday occurrence on this bridge that is expected. What isnít expected is the numerous accidents that tie up the bridge on both sides. Since it is a two-lane bridge, one bad accident can delay traffic for many minutes, sometimes hours.

After one particularly tiring, but rewarding day in Annapolis during this past General Assembly Session, I made my daily trip from the state capital to my home in St. Maryís County. The trip was seamless. Even the Prince Frederick rush hour went pretty smoothly.

I was pleased that I was going to make it home in enough time for dinner. But just when I reached Solomons, traffic was backed up because of an accident on the bridge. I, like my fellow commuters, just sat and waited until the debris had been cleared, rescue workers completed their task and police reports completed. Needless to say, I didnít make it home in time for dinner.

There is also a major safety issue that cannot be denied besides the accidents. In Calvert County, we have a Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) plant in Cove Point and just a few miles up the road is the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant In St. Maryís County, we have the Patuxent River Naval Air Station about five miles from the bridge and the Valero energy plant in Piney Point. While I write this, Calvert Cliffs has applied for a third nuclear reactor, the LNG plant has applied for a major expansion and just recently there was a proposal, now since abandoned -- for now -- to bring a massive amount of storage capacity for gasoline to Piney Point. All of this makes us very vulnerable.

The Governor Thomas Johnson Bridge is one of the main routes of evacuation. Imagine the very real possibility of the need for an evacuation at one of these facilities. The bridge would be loaded beyond capacity.

In this same year as they fought my bill, the Maryland Department of Transportation was discussing a plan to put a second Bay Bridge span in Calvert County. This is a very real possibility that no one in Calvert County that I know of supports. Imagine the traffic nightmare that would bring about? This proposal would only further complicate our already numerous traffic problems.

The Department of Transportation needs to stop fighting another span on the Thomas Johnson Bridge and get behind this project.

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

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