The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Walk appears to be making for a long goodbye, as Maryland officials citing cost concerns canceled the popular event for the fifth straight year.
"In these economic conditions we're trying to figure out where the best place is to put funds -- that's system preservation and larger projects," Maryland Transportation Authority spokeswoman Terri Moss said Tuesday. "The walk is just not feasible."
The 36-year-old event, normally held in May, has been canceled in recent years due to bad weather, renovations and economic conditions.
Ms. Moss said agency officials will begin to evaluate in November whether to hold a 2012 walk.
The roughly 4.5-mile walk usually attracts thousand of visitors who must be shuttled from locations in Anne Arundel County to the start, then back from the east end of the bridge, officially known as the William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bay Bridge.
Ms. Moss said the walk costs roughly $500,000, much of which goes toward extra security and coordination among law enforcement and transportation agencies.
The agency said the walk has become more expensive since Sept. 11 due to increases in security, reported first by the Star Democrat of Easton.
"When it did occur it certainly was an economic opportunity for Annapolis and the surrounding region, both on the west side and east side of the Bay," said Bob Burdon, president of the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce. "Certainly a lot of us would like to see it come back, but it's sort of difficult to second guess security concerns that are probably a reality."
The most recent numbers, from 2004, show about 20,000 people participate
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