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A Tale of Two Bridges Which Need Immediate Attention

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

Posted on March 10, 2006:

Senator Dyson For the past two years, I have sponsored legislation that would address a terrible traffic and safety problem in Calvert and St. Mary’s County -- the infamous Thomas Johnson Bridge. Senate Bill 338 would require the Secretary of Transportation to include immediate sufficient funds in the Consolidated Transportation Program for the planning, design, and construction of a second companion span for the Governor Thomas Johnson Bridge. My bill would have also required the Secretary to make sufficient funds available for Fiscal Year 2007 for the planning and design of this bridge.

Unfortunately, for strictly political reasons, the Secretary of Transportation has fought this legislation and the bill has been killed for the past two years. That means due to his inattention to the commuter and safety needs of Southern Marylanders, no state action will be taken to construct a second companion span that is desperately needed.

Expect worse gridlock on the bridge and let’s hope -- or pray -- there will not be any accidents that will close the bridge down entirely.

After the hearing on my bill, I wrote to the State Highway Administration’s’ s deputy administrator who testified against SB338 to explain the safety measures the department takes to make sure the Thomas Johnson Bridge is safe.

The letter didn’t really give me much confidence. In it, SHA’s administrator acknowledged that: “This bridge is vital to the area, and rumors persist regarding its health.”

These “rumors” aren’t coming from the department, but rather from the people of Calvert and St. Mary’s who I am constantly hearing from. And I am very pleased that the SHA at least stipulates that the bridge is “vital to the area.”

Since it is so “vital,” I am writing a letter to our federal representatives asking them to earmark federal monies for this project. I have already made preliminary contact with U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski regarding this request. I intend to pursue it even further. If the Congress can pass and the President can sign a bill approving the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere” in Alaska, surely the Congress can approve full funding for a bridge that serves as a major thoroughfare through St. Mary’s and Calvert counties.

Concerns have also arisen over the possibility of a second Bay Bridge crossing into Calvert County. There is a bill in the Senate and the House that would prohibit planning, financing and construction of the Northern Chesapeake Bay Bridge Crossing from Kent County to Baltimore County. If either these bills should pass, that would mean the only other option for the crossing would be in Calvert County.

Therefore, I was left with no choice but to draft an amendment prohibiting a Bay Bridge Crossing in Calvert. The last thing we need congesting our roads is a behemoth second Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Calvert County.

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

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