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The Hatem Bridge Opens – Register Your Ride

By - June 13, 2016

On Friday, July 1, 2016, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Maryland Transportation Administration (MdTA) will begin allowing bicyclists to cross the Route 40 Thomas J. Hatem Bridge at the Susquehanna River near Havre de Grace and Perryville, Maryland. It is a 1.3 mile, four-lane (two lanes in each direction) toll bridge, with a posted 45 mph speed limit.   Concrete barriers are on both sides of the crossing lanes and there are no shoulders.

Opening Weekend:

Since the bridge opens on a very busy holiday weekend, MdTA is restricting bicycle crossing to times when the traffic volume is forecast to be lighter than at other periods between Friday, July 1 and Monday, July 4 based on historical data.

Available crossing times opening weekend are:

  • Friday, July 1: Between 9 AM to noon.
  • Saturday, July 2: Between dawn to10 AM, and 4 PM to dusk.
  • Sunday, July 3: Between dawn to noon, and 6 PM to dusk.
  • Monday, July 4: Between dawn to dusk.

The East Coast Greenway and Bike Maryland intend to man information stands at the bridge at various periods throughout the holiday weekend.   It would be helpful if you are planning to ride your bike across the bridge between July 1-4, that you register.  This is voluntary, but it will give both MdTA and us an idea of potential usage.

Register here to ride opening weekend

By offering both rider and volunteer registration, neither Bike Maryland or East Coast Greenway are assuming any risks or liability for any consequences that might arise from individuals choosing to ride across the bridge or participate in volunteer activities. This not a Bike Maryland or East Coast Greenway promoted or sponsored bicycle ride or event.

Groups that want to Pre Pay Tolls

The group leaders may contact the Hatem Bridge Toll Manager, Patricia Keeton at 410-537-1106 or via email, pkeeton@mdta.state.md.us
Please contact her at least a week prior to the event as prepayment will be required prior to passage. She will also be able to inform the group leader which lane will be dedicated to the groups passage. Please provide the count and times for the events.

In addition, we could sure use some volunteers to help man information stands.

Rules of the Road from the MdTA

To ensure the safety of bicyclists crossing the bridge, MdTA has implemented the following rules.

  • The crossing will be marked on both sides of the bridge with a bicyclist-activated warning light that will flash for 15 minutes to alert motorists that a bicyclist is on the bridge
  • Bicyclists must be 18 years of age or older or have a valid drivers license.
  • Bicyclists will pay the $8 eastbound toll with cash or an EZPass
  • Bicyclists may have full use of the right lane.
  • Bicyclists should position themselves in the center of the lane and ride in single file.
  • Crossings are allowed on weekdays between 9 AM and 3 PM only. Crossings are allowed on weekends and holidays from dawn to dusk.
  • Bicycle crossings will not be allowed if winds exceed 30 mph or visibility is less than 1,000 feet. A variable message sign on each side of the bridge will warn cyclists that the bridge is closed.  Alerts will be posted via Twitter, as well.
  • In case of an emergency on the bridge, bicyclists should remain at their location and dial #77. The entire bridge is monitored 24/7 by surveillance cameras, and MdTA is alerted whenever the crossing signal is activated.  An MdTA vehicle equipped with a bike rack will respond to your emergency.

Suggestions:

To help make your cycling experience across the bridge is safe, the following suggestions are recommended:

  1. Carry a charged cell phone with you.
  2. Ensure your bicycle is in good mechanical condition
  3. Wear a helmet and bright clothing
  4. Use a flashing red tail light
  5. Use caution when crossing the metal bridge expansion joints, particularly in wet conditions.
  6. If in a group, stay together and travel as fast as the slowest rider. The 15-minute warning light is timed for a 6 mph crossing.

Check Links before you leave home

Before you head out to Havre de Grace and Perryville both opening weekend and whenever you are going to cross the Hatem Bridge, be sure to check for updates on the status of the bridge.  If traffic volume is too great, or other adverse conditions exist, MTA may suspend bicycle crossings.  Alerts will be posted on Twitter @TheMdTA, and on the MdTA website .

Miscellaneous:

  1. If you are bicycling eastbound as a large group, you should call MdTA (410-537-1196), and provide them with information on when you plan on crossing the bridge. They will provide assistance with expediting your tolls.
  2. Bicyclists can still use the MTA bus service (Route 420) on the weekdays, Monday through Friday, to cross the bridge.  Please note that there is no bus service on weekends. Travelers need to call a cab service to get across the bridge Saturday or Sunday.

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