Chesapeake Bay Bridge

The Maryland Transportation Authority is weighing options for a new Chesapeake Bay Bridge crossing to alleviate traffic between the Eastern Shore and the Baltimore and Washington metropolitan areas. Essex and Sparrows Point were in consideration, but have since been removed from that consideration.

BALTIMORE COUNTY — The Maryland Transportation Authority (MTA) has announced three possible options for a future Chesapeake Bay Bridge crossing, none of which are in eastern Baltimore County.

And it seems District 6 residents in Essex and Sparrows Point are happy about that.

The MDTA is building a new bay crossing to alleviate the copious flow of traffic going across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. The new crossing will serve as a link between the Eastern Shore and the Baltimore and Washington metropolitan areas.

The MDTA had originally considered 14 options to place the new bay crossing. Three of those options were in Baltimore County – at Interstate 95 near White Marsh; at Interstate 695 near Essex, or at I-695 near Sparrows Point.

According to data collected by the MDTA, none of the three Baltimore County options would have contributed to an effort to reduce traffic. Del. Robin Grammer, R-6, shared his agreement with the decision to eliminate the three Baltimore County options in a Facebook post on Aug. 27.

“Thanks to those who spoke up,” Grammer’s Facebook post read. “Any of the proposed corridors in our area would have upended the local communities.”

Grammer penned another Facebook post earlier this year that revealed all 14 potential options considered by the MDTA. That post was met with a barrage of comments from followers of his page.

The concerns in those comments ranged from an increase in traffic where the crossing could be built, to the destruction of ecosystems and quality of life. Some commenters even voiced concern that building a crossing between Baltimore and the Eastern Shore would open a new avenue for crime to spread.

The MDTA has narrowed down the location for the new crossing to three options, and have proposed an option to not build a bridge at all. The final three build options are: MD 100 to US 301 between Pasadena from Maryland Route 100 to Rock Hall in Kent County and Centreville in Queen Anne's County at U.S. Route 301, the existing Bay Bridge corridor starting at U.S. 50/301 in Crofton to U.S. 50 in Queenstown in Queen Anne's County and further south from the Bay Bridge corridor, going between U.S. 50 US 50/301 in Crofton and Easton in Talbot County.

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman issued a statement on Aug. 27, voicing his displeasure that all three options are in areas under his jurisdiction.

“This morning, I was surprised to find out that the joint federal and state study of potential Bay Bridge crossings had been narrowed down to include only those that cross through Anne Arundel County,” the statement said. “Any of the three options will be severely disruptive to existing communities and sensitive environmental areas. All three options could destroy parks along the Chesapeake Bay, at a time when we are trying to expand public water access.”

The MDTA is hosting a series of open houses for people to learn more about the crossing project. One of those sessions will be held at Middle River High School on Oct. 1, from 6-8 p.m.