Locals learn, share views on new bridge

Dorchester Banner/Dave Ryan Local residents joined officeholders and state officials on Thursday at Cambridge-South Dorchester High School to learn about proposed Bay crossings.

Dorchester Banner/Dave Ryan
Local residents joined officeholders and state officials on Thursday at Cambridge-South Dorchester High School to learn about proposed Bay crossings.

CAMBRIDGE — If you live on the western shore, it might sound like a good idea. To Eastern Shore residents, maybe not.
Local citizens and officeholders attended a meeting on Thursday at Cambridge-South Dorchester High School, where they spoke to officials from the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) and viewed informational panels regarding proposed new bay crossings. The meeting was one of a series, held throughout the region.
Pretty much, that means a bridge, either from Calvert County to Taylors Island, or from near Baltimore to Tolchester in Kent County.
“The Chesapeake Bay Crossing Study: Tier is a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) study that will result in the identification of a preferred corridor alternative to address congestion at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and evaluation of its financial feasibility,” a statement on the MDTA’s website says. “The Bay Crossing Study will evaluate current and future traffic demand across the Chesapeake Bay.”
The study area includes the length of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, spanning approximately 100 miles from near Havre de Grace to the southern border with Virginia between St. Mary’s and Somerset Counties, the website says.
Dorchester resident Bill Craig was at the meeting, and was not convinced a new crossing would be wise. “We have decades of empirical data that show you can’t build roads to solve traffic problems,” he said.
Mr. Craig advocated increased use of trains, ferry boats, public transportation, car pooling and even bike trails between local towns to reduce traffic on U.S. Rt. 50.
“I’m totally opposed to any new bridge,” Mr. Craig said. “It’s just not the solution.”
“The regional analyses undertaken during Tier 1 will involve evaluation of approximately one-mile wide corridors using a broad-scale level of detail for engineering and environmental information. The Tier 1 EIS will result in selection of a corridor alternative that best meets the study purpose and need,” the website says. “Following the Tier 1 study, a Tier 2 study will identify specific alignment alternatives within the corridor alternative that is identified in Tier 1.”
The MDTA owns, finances, operates, and maintains the William Preston Lane, Jr. Memorial (Bay) Bridge and is conducting the $5 million Bay Crossing Study.
To learn more or comment on this topic, visit www.baycrossingstudy.com.

Dave Ryan is editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at dryan@newszap.com.

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