Roads expert says state needs to tweak policy

Roads expert says state needs to tweak policy

Some car accidents that could have happened in Maryland on the evening on June 29 would have been the blame of the state, which needs to alter its policies when faced when pending potentially devastating weather, one roads expert said.

The expert said that on that evening, the National Weather Service broadcast to Maryland residents that a fierce storm known as a derecho was on the doorstep of the area. When it finally did hit, many homes had no power and several houses and cars suffered damage.

That night, however, almost witnessed a tragic accident when a tractor-trailer blew over and was almost sent off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Additionally, many other drivers stuck on the bridge thought it would collapse, and one even called family members to say a final farewell.

A spokeswoman for the state agency that oversees the bridge said the agency cannot close a major travel area such as the bridge on the basis of a forecast. The expert, however, disagreed, saying it was clear from today’s weather technology that the storm would hit and at what time.

The expert said the Maryland Transportation Authority needed to act to close the bridge for the safety of its users. The current policy states that winds must be sustained at 50 miles per hour or more for officials to keep traffic off the bridge.

While no one was hurt on the bridge and there were no accidents, the expert said the weather technology available to transportation officials should have been enough for them to know how potentially devastating the storm was. In other areas, he said, department policy has been responsive to community needs.

This weather-related policy, he said, is one that puts lives at risk unnecessarily. If that is true, and a weather event that could have predicted results in lives lost, the state indeed could be liable.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, A dangerous rule for the Bay Bridge,” Mahlon G. Anderson, July 23, 2012

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