Governor Larry Hogan – Official Website of the Governor of Maryland

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Funding for safety and congestion relief meets Worcester County’s top priority

ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan today announced $15 million to advance the state’s long-term “Reach the Beach” plan with safety, access, and congestion relief projects along MD 90 (Ocean City Expressway) in Worcester County. The funds allow the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) to accelerate planning and move into the design phase of improvements along the 12-mile stretch of MD 90 from US 50 to MD 528 (Coastal Highway).

On Friday at the Bay Bridge, the governor announced that the state is advancing its strategy to address congestion and future traffic demand crossing the Chesapeake Bay, with the launch of the Bay Crossing Study Tier 2 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of $28 million.

“In 1987, Governor William Donald Schaefer launched a ‘Reach the Beach’ effort to modernize the state’s transportation infrastructure, reduce traffic congestion on the beach, and make summer travel easier across the state” , Governor Hogan said. “After decades of inaction, our goal has been to finally fulfill this ‘Reach the Beach’ mission. Moving forward with a new crossing of the Chesapeake Bay and with the upgrade of MD 90, the gateway entrance to Ocean City, we will provide a safe and efficient 21st century transportation system for the East Coast, which will allow us to continue to grow our economy, and which will ensure that Marylanders and visitors can enjoy all that that Ocean City and the East Coast have to offer.

During his keynote address to the Maryland Counties Association Summer Conference last August, Governor Hogan announced that the state of Maryland’s new Consolidated Transportation Program (CTP) would include $850,000 for the planning phase of the MD 90 upgrade project. Moving into the design phase is the next step to making it a ready-to-go project.

Hundreds of thousands of people visit Ocean City every weekend during the summer months, and many use the MD 90 to reach the northern parts of the city. The west end of MD 90 at US 50 carries approximately 33,000 vehicles per day on summer weekends.

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MD 90 is also a primary access point for the town of Ocean Pines and supports access to the communities of Bishopville and Showell. The freeway is currently experiencing significant congestion with a traffic incident or obstruction on US 50 at the south end of Ocean City. MD 90 and US 50 are also major hurricane escape routes.

In addition to improving safety and reducing traffic congestion, improvements to the MD 90 are said to be aimed at increasing response times for police, fire and ambulance, especially during the summer months. Improvements to the MD 90 corridor have been identified by Worcester County and Ocean City as their top transportation priority.

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“MD 90 provides needed access to Ocean City for beachgoers, and also serves as an essential connector for residents and businesses,” said Maryland Transportation Secretary James F. Ports, Jr. Governor Hogan’s commitment gives us the tools we need to make improvements in partnership with community residents, officials and local agencies.

Built in the 1970s, the MD 90 was originally built to bring travelers to the beach in the growing areas of northern Ocean City. The MD 90 crosses the St. Maarten River and Assawoman Bay over two bridge spans, and preliminary plans call for these bridges to be expanded as part of overall improvements.

MDOT SHA is investigating and will hold a virtual public meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 21, as part of the ongoing $850,000 planning study. During the meeting, MDOT SHA

familiarize participants with the project and answer questions related to the project. The link to the meeting, as well as project details and information, is available here.

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