Chesapeake Bay Bridge
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge which is also locally known as the “Bay Bridge” is located in the U.S. state of Maryland. It is a major twin bridge of Maryland that connects its rural Eastern Shore region with the urban Western Shore. The bridge works as a vital link between Stevensville and Maryland’s capital city, Annapolis.
On July 30, 1952, with a length of 4.33 miles or 6.97 km, the original span (the westbound) of the bridge was opened making it the longest continuous over-water steel structure in the world at that time. 21 years after the opening of the original span, a parallel span with a length of 4.33 miles or 6.97 km (the eastbound) was opened on June 28, 1973.
The eastbound of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge stands at a height of 354 ft or 107.9 m, while the westbound has a height of 379 ft or 115.5 m. In the case of width, the eastbound spans 28 ft (8.5 m), while the westbound has a width of 38 ft (11.6 m).
The east and west bounds of the bridge are designed in the style of a Cantilever bridge and a Continuous truss bridge respectively. The structure of Suspension bridges is used in both spans. The responsibility for maintenance of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge goes to Maryland Transportation Authority, State of Maryland.
More than 61,000 traffic travel on this bridge daily. As a result, the bridge always remains busy and congested by traffic. Mainly, the peak hours of the summer months make the bridge busier.
In the toll booth located on the western shore (Annapolis) side of the Bridge, tolls are collected from the bridge’s eastbound only. The amount of the toll is $4 which is collected by the EZPass Toll Collection System.
Before the construction of the bridge, ferries were used for transportation between the two shores of the bay. But at present, this bridge fulfills all the transportation needs. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge is a part of U.S. Route 50 (US 50) and US 301. Working as a vital link in both routes, the bridge has made the transportation system easier in the Baltimore–Washington Metropolitan Area with Ocean City, Maryland, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and other coastal tourist spots.
It has played a huge role in the development on both sides of the bay, especially in the growth of Eastern Shore communities. Since the opening of the bridge, many restaurants and hotels have been opened around the area which has improved the economy of the region.
As per a study in 2004, it was expected that the traffic across the bridge will be increased by 40% by 2025. So, in 2005, Governor Bob Ehrlich formed a task force to analyze if there is a possibility of another Chesapeake Bay crossing. Later, the task force proposed to add a third span to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. But in 2020, the proposal for the third span was rejected by Maryland Transportation Authority.
Read Also: Component Parts of a Bridge.
What is the official name of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge?
The official name of the bridge is Gov. William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bridge and this name is after William Preston Lane Jr who was the 52nd Governor of Maryland.
How Long is the Chesapeake Bay Bridge?
The eastbound of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge is 4.35 mi or 7.00 km long and the westbound of the bridge has a total length of 4.33 mi or 6.97 km.
Is the Chesapeake Bay Bridge the same as the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel?
No, Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel are not the same. As the names of both bridges are similar, many people get confused about them.
The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel is a 17.6-mile or 28.3 km long tunnel that crosses the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay connecting eastern Virginia with the Virginia Beach area. Whereas, Chesapeake Bay Bridge sets up a link between Stevensville and Maryland’s capital city, Annapolis.