Gov. Larry Hogan said Tuesday that the state will spend $5 million and up to four years studying where to put — and how to pay for — a possible third span across the Chesapeake Bay.Rumors of a new bridge have circulated for years, but nothing official has been seen. One rumor of local color is that former Maryland Comptroller and Calvert County local Louis "Louie" Goldstein was so sure a new bridge would be built at Cove Point (the narrowest area of the bay south of the current bridge) that he bought a bunch of land on both sides, anticipating a run up in the price. But then, he own a lot of land in the area. We're pretty sure he left a codicil in his will threatening to disinter some political skeletons if MD Rt. 4 wasn't paved regularly.
The study is the first in a multi-stage process to seek federal funding. It would likely be many years before any construction could begin, if ever.
The congested and aging Bay Bridge has vexed transportation planners for decades. Studies show that the bridge, if properly maintained, should remain structurally sound until 2065. But increased traffic is projected to cause daily 13-mile backups by 2040 unless a new span is built. A new span could cost up to $6.85 billion, and would require other road network upgrades.
The governor declined to speculate whether engineers would suggest a new span alongside the two existing ones or elsewhere in the state, but he said the process would involve a lot of public input.