Should the Third Bay Bridge Connect Baltimore and Kent Counties?

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The Bay Bridge
The Bay Bridge

As long as Gov. Larry Hogan has committed $5 million to study the possibility of building a third bridge crossing the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland Reporter columnist Michael Collins has a suggestion for where it should be built.

In a recent column, Collins identifies the four possible connections the governor’s task force is considering for a third bay bridge, and quickly dismisses two of them. Connecting Calvert County to Dorchester County or connecting Anne Arundel and Calvert counties to Talbot County would each, according to his numbers, require a bridge six to 12 miles long, all told.

Collins prefers the “historic” option: a bridge connecting Baltimore and Kent counties, originally conceived of in the early 20th century. He makes the case that the bridge could be made much smaller than the existing Bay Bridge (let alone one of the hypothetical bridges above), its small size and northern location offering aesthetic, safety, and national security advantages.

If that’s not enough for you, Collins cites 2006 findings that such a crossing would greatly reduce Bay Bridge traffic.

Collins doesn’t have much of anything to say about the fourth option, connecting Anne Arundel County to Queen Anne’s County. Otherwise, he makes an interesting case.



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2 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Mr. O’Brian,
    First, the idea for the ‘historical’ original Tolchester bridge dates back to 1909, which was conceived at that time to allow western shore vacationers the opportunity to drive, or take a train, to what was then one of a few destination points of the eastern shore that could only be reached by ferry; Tolchester Beach Resort & Amusement Park. When the current bay bridge opened in 1952, the premier destination point for Maryland vacationers, as well as PA and NJ vacationers, became OC. Such was the case that in 1962 the Tolchester Beach Resort & Amusement Park closed, went into bankruptcy and foreclosure. When the current bay bridge opened it genuinely cancelled the need for a bridge to Tolchester, Kent County, MD, and, frankly, should have been deleted from all future plans. There are two well-established residential communities on the lands that made up the old Resort and Amusement Park; Tolchester Heights and Tolchester Estates, with a combined total of 223 homes.
    What the Collins commentary, and your follow up article, does not take into consideration is the extensive infrastructure that would be required to connect Tolchester, Kent County, MD to DE & MD beaches; the construction of at least two more bridges, to cross the Chester and the Choptank Rivers, never mind the crossings necessary for the numerous stream and creeks throughout the upper Delmarva Peninsula. This is not just about laying down a lot of concrete and asphalt. There are significant and substantial ecological, environmental and heritage impacts involved which you and Mr. Collins seem to dismiss, to be sure.
    Additionally, Kent County, MD, per our Comprehensive Plan, does not want a bridge to our shore, does not want to be connected to, nor become a suburb of, either Baltimore County or Baltimore City.
    Interestingly, during the 2006 study, which you write Collins cites, Dorchester County implied that it would welcome a crossing, which, frankly makes a lot more sense when you look at the total picture, easily connecting that bay crossing to Route 50 just north of the Salisbury by-pass.
    The easiest, and most economical plan, in my judgment, would be to build a third east bound span, allowing for three lanes of vehicular flow in both directions, eliminate the 11 toll booths, which are a Major travel impediment, with express by-passes around the traffic light plagued towns Easton and Cambridge.
    If you want to improve vehicular traffic flow, eliminate the current hindrances, impediments and hurdles.
    Mike Waal
    Tolchester Heights
    Kent County, MD

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