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Chesapeake Bay Bridge MD (US 50/301) _ Virginia Food Tour

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Chesapeake Bay Bridge MD (US 50/301) _ Virginia Food Tour

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge (known locally as the “Bay Bridge”) is a major dual-span bridge in the U.S. state of Maryland. Spanning the Chesapeake Bay, it connects the state’s rural Eastern Shore region with the urban Western Shore, between Stevensville and the capital city of Annapolis. The original span, opened in 1952 and with a length of 4.3 miles (6.9 km), was the world’s longest continuous over-water steel structure. The parallel span was added in 1973. The bridge is officially named the Gov. William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bridge after William Preston Lane Jr. who, as the 52nd Governor of Maryland, initiated its construction in the late 1940s finally after decades of political indecision and public controversy.

The bridge is part of U.S. Route 50 (US 50) and US 301, and serves as a vital link in both routes. As part of cross-country US 50, it connects the Baltimore–Washington Metropolitan Area with Ocean City, Maryland, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and other coastal tourist resort destinations. As part of US 301, it serves as part of an alternative route for Interstate 95 travelers, between northern Delaware and the Washington, D.C., area. Because of this linkage, the bridge is busy and has become known as a point of traffic congestion, particularly during peak hours and summer months.

The bridge’s role in transportation was filled by ferries prior to the first span’s construction. An annual 10K run across the bridge has been organized on-and-off since 1975. The bridge’s economic impact on the areas it connects has been significant, with both Queen Anne’s County and Ocean City expanding significantly since the bridge’s construction. Future expansion of the bridge has been discussed since 2004, with a task force being formed to investigate the possibility of building a third span.

Proposals and ferries
It is possible that studies may have been conducted as early as the 1880s into the possibility of a bridge across the Chesapeake Bay.[3] However, the first known proposal came about in 1907 and called for a crossing between Baltimore and Tolchester Beach.[4] In 1927, local businesspeople were authorized to finance the construction of a Baltimore to Tolchester Beach crossing. Plans for the new bridge were made, but construction was canceled following the Wall Street Crash of 1929 with the collapse of the American economy and resulting Great Depression of the 1930s.
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