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Reduce your Memorial Day weekend travel time by planning ahead with BMC’s 2016 traffic data

The Memorial Day holiday weekend provides Marylanders a first chance to get out and have some unofficial start-to-the-summer fun, especially those who plan to travel to the Eastern Shore.

This year, more than 356,000 vehicles will cross over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge between Friday, May 26, and Monday, May 29. Gas prices remain low, and the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) projects a 2.5 percent increase in traffic volume from 2016 during the holiday weekend.

The Baltimore Metropolitan Council (BMC) analyzes where and when traffic in the Baltimore region tends to pile up and for how long it will stay congested by looking at data from INRIX congestion scans. Looking at 2016 Memorial Day weekend data, staff members concluded that those traveling to the Eastern Shore will hit less traffic by leaving on Thursday, May 25, instead of Friday, May 26.

BMC provides the following animation from 2016 Memorial Day weekend data - from Thursday, May 26, through Monday, May 30- to show when traffic is heaviest.  The animation makes it easy for users to pan around and zoom in and out on the roads throughout the Baltimore region and Eastern Shore. This capability will give travelers an idea of what traffic may be like this holiday weekend.  

 Looking at the following data from INRIX congestion scans, the heaviest traffic is observed on eastbound US-50 approaching the Bay Bridge between 2 pm and 6 pm on the Thursday before Labor Day in 2016.  Backups began on I-97 at the MD-3 exit and continued after exiting onto US-50 eastbound but broke up at Rowe Blvd several miles before the Bay Bridge toll.  Much of this can be attributed to a typical afternoon rush hour in the area

Conversely, those who chose to leave on that Friday found a longer window of delays on US-50 eastbound from 11:30 am to 9 pm with intermittent backups beginning at the merge onto US-50 eastbound and continuing until reaching MD-404 20 miles east of the Bay Bridge toll plaza.

A Saturday departure proved to be a much smoother commute with very little congestion delay.

Getting home from the beach poses a much more difficult challenge with backups on Memorial Day extending from the Bay Bridge as far back as Easton, MD on westbound US-50 beginning around 10 am and not ending until after 10 pm.  (*Note this scan should be read from bottom to top)

Travel Tips : 

The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) offers the following travel tips for the Memorial Day holiday weekend:

Travel off-peak when heading to and from the Eastern Shore.  The best times to travel the Bay Bridge this weekend include:

•     Thursday/Friday – before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.

•     Saturday – before 7 a.m. and after 5 p.m.

•     Sunday/Monday – before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.

Call 1-877-BAYSPAN (229-7726) for 24/7 Bay Bridge traffic conditions. 

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 May 2017 14:35