The Bay Crossing Study Tier 1 Study was conducted from the fall of 2017 until the spring of 2022 and is now complete.

The three primary project needs identified for the Bay Crossing Study (BCS) are adequate capacity, dependable and reliable travel times, and flexibility to support maintenance and incident management. These three needs were the basis for evaluating the Range of Alternatives. Additionally, as part of the study, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) considered financial viability and environmental responsibility for any recommendations proposed to address the study needs. Using an Alternatives Screening Process, the MDTA evaluated the four Modal and Operational Alternatives (MOA), the fourteen Corridor Alternatives, and the No-Build Alternative.

Bay Crossing Study Alternatives Report

The Alternatives Report includes a summary of the BCS Purpose and Need for the study, a description of the preliminary alternatives considered, an environmental inventory, discussion of the screening process, and the screening analysis results.

MOA and Corridor Alternatives Screening Process

Modal and Operational Alternatives (MOA)

The MOA were developed to determine if a different mode, or operational changes, could meet the Bay Crossing Study Purpose and Need as stand-alone alternatives. This component of the screening process was intended to determine if any of the MOA could meet the Purpose and Need independent of other corridor alternatives or MOA.

Corridor Alternatives

A two-phase screening approach was employed for the corridor alternatives screening. Phase 1 is summarized below:

Phase 1 Corridor Screening Criteria

Adequate Capacity

  • 2040 Summer Weekend Average Daily Traffic (ADT) at the Existing Crossing

  • 2040 Non-Summer Weekday ADT at the Existing Crossing

Practical Challenges

  • Unavoidable impacts to major resources (such as Aberdeen Proving Ground or Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge)

Corridors that passed Phase 1 screening were advanced to Phase 2.

Phase 2 Corridor Screening Criteria

Dependable and Reliable Travel Times

  • 2040 Summer Weekend – Daily hours with queue length of 4 miles or greater
  • 2040 Non-Summer Weekday – Daily hours with queue length of 1 mile or greater
  • 2040 Summer Weekend – Hours with Level of Service (LOS) E or F
  • 2040 Non-Summer Weekday – Hours with LOS E or F

Flexibility to Support Maintenance and Incident Management at the Existing Bridge

  • Additional travel time required to divert from the existing bridge to a new crossing
Environmental Inventory, Indirect and Cumulative Effects
Financial Viability

Alternatives Screening Results

No-Build Alternative

The No-Build Alternative does not meet any of the three BCS Purpose and Need elements (adequate capacity, dependable and reliable travel times, and flexibility to support maintenance and incident management at the existing Bay Bridge).

Modal and Operational Alternatives

Results of the screening process show that as a standalone option, none of the MOA meet the BCS Purpose and Need. Therefore, the MOA were eliminated from further analysis in this Tier 1 NEPA study. Transportation System Management and Travel Demand Management, Ferry Service, and Bus Rapid Transit will be studied in combination with alignment alternatives if a Tier 2 NEPA study moves forward. Due to its high costs and impacts, Rail will not be studied in combination with any alignment alternatives considered in a Tier 2 NEPA study.

Corridor Alternatives

The results of the Phase 1 and Phase 2 Corridor Screening determined that many of the proposed Corridor Alternatives do not adequately meet the BCS Purpose and Need. The Phase 1 screening process eliminated Corridors 1 through 4 and 10 through 14 due to the failure of each of these corridors to provide adequate capacity to reduce congestion and the presence of substantial practical challenges. The remaining Corridors 5 through 9 were carried forward for Phase 2 screening. The Phase 2 screening eliminated Corridors 5 and 9 due to a combination of unacceptable levels of incident diversion flexibility and/or failure to provide adequate capacity to reduce congestion.

Public Involvement

Four rounds of public meetings have been held thus far. The November 2017 Online Scoping Meeting was held to seek input on the project scope, and Purpose and Need. That meeting included a virtual presentation and in-person viewing locations. The Spring 2018 public meetings were held at six locations between May 8 and May 22, 2018, to present and solicit comments on the Purpose and Need, the environmental review process, corridor development, and screening process. Information was also provided on scoping activities and public comments. Seven Open House Meetings were held in Fall 2019 to present and solicit feedback on the range of alternatives considered, the screening analysis and results, and the preliminary Corridor Alternatives Retained for Analysis (CARA). Members of the public identified “reducing congestion” as a high priority for identifying corridors to carry forward for further study. Corridors 6, 7 and 8 achieve the goal of reducing congestion better than all other corridor alternatives.

Finally, Public Hearings were held in Spring 2021 to receive comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and the MDTA’s Recommended Preferred Corridor Alternative.

All public comments are available at: Tier 1 Study Public Comments

Corridor Alternatives Retained for Analysis (CARA)

Based upon the results of the screening process and input from Federal, State, and local regulatory agencies, as well as public comments, Corridors 6, 7 and 8 were carried forward as the Corridor Alternatives Retained for Analysis (CARA) because they are the only corridors to sufficiently meet the BCS Purpose and Need. The No-Build Alternative will also be carried forward. The following map illustrates the location of the CARA.

Corridor Alternatives Retained for Analysis

Corridor 6

  • Connects Pasadena and Centreville
  • Follows MD 177 and ties in with MD 100 on Western Shore; does not follow existing road network on Eastern Shore to tie into US 301

Corridor 7

  • Follows existing road network along US 50/301 from west of the Severn River on the Western Shore to US 50/301 split on the Eastern Shore. Includes location of existing Bay Bridge

Corridor 8

  • Connects Crofton and Easton
  • Follows MD 214/424 and ties into existing US 50 interchange on Western Shore
  • Does not follow existing road network on Eastern Shore to connect to US 50


Bay Crossing Study CARA Map

To englarge the map, click anywhere on the preview image above.