OCEAN CITY, Md. — Memorial Day weekend is here, and yes that means you should expect to see lengthy backups on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and along the Route 50 corridor, according to the Maryland Transportation Authority.
Motorists taking advantage of the long weekend should expect heavier traffic volumes on Route 50 and the Bay Bridge heading east toward the beach, according to MTA, which operates the Bay Bridge.
MTA expects heavy eastbound traffic through Saturday, and the same lengthy backups occurring westbond on Sunday and Monday as visitors return from Ocean City and elsewhere, according to MTA.
Some rainy weather is forecast for Saturday and Sunday across Maryland, and MTA warns poor conditions could only exacerbate delays.
The state advises tourists to travel during off-peak hours when going to or from the Eastern Shore, according to MTA. Off-peak hours this weekend consist of:
- Friday: before 8 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
- Saturday: before 8 a.m. and after 5 p.m.
- Sunday: before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
- Monday: before 8 a.m. and after 11 a.m.
Heavy traffic on Maryland roadways comes as more than 37 million Americans are expected to hit the road this weekend, according to AAA.
This year’s travel estimates are a 60% increase over 2020, which was severely altered by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this year’s numbers are still expected to be slightly lower than 2019 estimates, according to AAA.
More than 9 in 10 Memorial Day travelers will drive to their destination, according to AAA, which lines up with expectations by Ocean City officials who believe the resort town will see more visitors this summer because of its close proximity to major East Coast cities.
“As more people get the COVID-19 vaccine and consumer confidence grows, Americans are demonstrating a strong desire to travel this Memorial Day,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president at AAA Travel.
She added, “This pent-up demand will result in a significant increase in Memorial Day travel, which is a strong indicator for summer, though we must all remember to continue taking important safety precautions.”