- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 9, 2002

STEVENSVILLE, Md. (AP) The Maryland Transportation Authority is gathering information from commuters about a proposed third bridge over the Chesapeake Bay.
Delegate Wheeler Baker, Queen Anne's County Democrat, said the options include building the bridge in the Kent Island area or linking Dorchester and Calvert counties.
The current spans link Sandy Point and Stevensville in Maryland east of Annapolis and Virginia Beach and Cape Charles in Tidewater Virginia.
Resort construction is creating a demand that Maryland must be prepared to accommodate, Mr. Baker said.
"We have had so many complaints locally and they are steadily building in Rehoboth and Ocean City, so even more traffic will be heading toward the resorts and we are going to have to accommodate that," Mr. Baker said.
He recently wrote Tom Osborne, executive secretary of the MTA, asking him to "take a look into the future for another crossing of the bay."
"I am not in a position to give advice as to where I think this should be, but I think it is something that you and your group should deliberate on and make inquiries to move forward with this process," Mr. Baker said.
The agency allocated $500,000 in last year's capital budget to study a third Bay crossing, said Lori Vidil, an MTA spokeswoman.
Miss Vidil said the project is in the information-gathering stage with an origination and destination study for commuters.
"We are basically gathering information from customers on their travel habits," Miss Vidil said. Commuters will be asked questions such as what days they are traveling, what their destinations are and whether they would be willing to alter their routes or plans.
The data will be available this summer and then presented to the transportation authority, she said.
"It's all very preliminary and we are just beginning to examine the possibilities," she said.
Miss Vidil would not comment on any specifics about the potential locations for a third bridge.
Mr. Baker declined to comment on his preferred location for another bridge.
He said the state needs to develop long-range plans involving the bridge, including making sure it can carry a light-rail line.

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