Not all is somber in our currently isolated lives. Some good news popped up last week. I had to share my glee.
Gov. Hogan announced last week on April 1 that reconstruction of westbound right lane on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge is 100 percent complete. I read the article in The Star Democrat several times to make sure that our governor was not playing an April Fool’s prank.
I am on record for bemoaning what was supposed to be a two-year project that had wreaked havoc on Eastern Shore motorists crossing the Bay Bridge to conduct personal and professional business on the Western Shore. I have written about my love-hate relationship with a bridge that I crossed for nearly 30 years as a commuter.
As it turns out, our past winter’s moderate weather and the coronavirus combined to expedite the rehabilitation project, not to speak of the governor’s intense interest in the project. Constant complaints from Marylanders caught in awful back-ups surely reached the State House.
The deadly COVID-19 naturally draws few, if any favorable reviews. But, for me, if it played even a minor role in speeding up the annoying but necessary bridge project, I am pleased.
Of course, the silver lining has a few wrinkles. Since Gov. Hogan has righty directed sheltering in place in an attempt to “flatten the curve” of the quickly spreading disease, travel across the Bay Bridge to see family and keep medical appointments has become a non-event. Video communication has replaced up-close contact.
This oft-frustrated Bay Bridge motorist feels thankful to the governor for his prodding and pushing. Jim Ports, executive director of the Maryland Transportation Authority (MdTA), the state agency responsible for Maryland’s bridges, also deserves credit. He was the point person for the governor’s impatience and the public’s ire at the inconvenience.
I look forward to leaving my bunker some day and traveling across the rehabilitated westbound span.
Columnist Howard Freedlander retired in 2011 as Deputy State Treasurer of the State of Maryland. Previously, he was the executive officer of the Maryland National Guard. He also served as community editor for Chesapeake Publishing, lastly at the Queen Anne’s Record-Observer. In retirement, Howard serves on the boards of several non-profits on the Eastern Shore, Annapolis and Philadelphia.