Bay Bridge or Chesapeake Bay Bridge , located in Maryland is a major dual-span bridge that is spanning the Chesapeake Bay. Bay Bridge is connecting the Eastern Shore region with the Western Shore.
Originally constructed in 1952 with a length of 4.3 miles (7 km) one of the longest over water steel structures in the world. The parallel span was added in 1973.The official name of the bridge is William Preston Lane, Jr. Memorial Bridge after William Preston Lane, Jr. who initiated the construction.
Bay Bridge is part of US Routes 50 and 301 and has become a point of traffic congestion, particularly during peak hours .
In 1938 a proposal by the Maryland General Assembly, was the first to call for a bridge in the area but due to the involvement of the United States in World War II , the bridge construction was delayed.
Construction started 11 years after in January 1949 and the bridge being opened to traffic on July 30, 1952 . At the time Bay Bridge was both the longest continuous over-water steel structure and third longest bridge in the world.
In 1969 , due to the increasing traffic volume , authorities began construction of the new span to the north of the original span which was completed on June 28, 1973.
Bay Bridge Walk
Each spring, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge closes one span to traffic for a day in order to let pedestrian walk the span. The walk is usually held on the first Sunday in May. The annual Bay Bridge Walk has become a regional attraction that usually brings 40,000 to 60,000 participants to walk the bridge and enjoy the spectacular view . Two way traffic is handled on the second span during the walk. The walk is approximately 4.5 miles an shuttles will return pedestrians to the parking lot after the walk is finished .
Bay Bridge Facts
- Official name – William Preston Lane, Jr. Memorial Bridge
- Carries – 5 lanes of US 50/US 301
- Crosses – Chesapeake Bay
- Maintained – Maryland Transportation Authority
- Design – twin steel cantilever bridge (eastbound), arch bridge (westbound) and suspension bridge Total length – 4.914 mi (6,946 m)
- Width – 28 ft (8.5 m) (eastbound) 38 ft (11.5 m) (westbound)
- Longest span – 1,600 ft (490 m)
- Clearance below – 186 ft (56.7 m)
- Opened – July 30, 1952 (eastbound) June 28, 1973 (westbound)
- Toll – $2.50 (eastbound)
- Daily traffic – 61,000