ABOARD THE CARNIVAL PRIDE, ON THE CHESAPEAKE BAY, Md. — While I enjoyed sailing under Baltimore’s Key Bridge, I was more enthusiastic about sailing under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge which is apparently known officially as the William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial (Bay) Bridge. The Bay Bridge is of course, actually two different suspension bridges, that carry US 50 & 301 across the Chesapeake Bay at one of its narrowest points. The western shore is Anne Arundel County near Sandy Point State Park and Annapolis. On the east side is Kent Island in Queen Anne’s County. Unfortunately, it was overcast both times we went under the spans. The first time around, I was having dinner at the stern of the ship, so I had to take those pictures from indoors. Returning to port, I was on the top deck before 7 a.m.
The first span was opened in 1952 carrying two lanes of traffic and includes attractive towers with “X” lattice work, but also stiffening trusses that block the obstruct the view of the bay for passengers. Coincidentally, the “other” Bay Bridge1 over the San Francisco Bay has X’s in the lattice work towers and carried US 50 from 1936 to 1964.2
A second span, 450 feet north of the original, opened in 1973. From dcroads.net’s Chesapeake Bay Bridge page:
Like the original bridge, the new bridge also featured a suspension bridge with a 1,600-foot-long main span. However, the stiffening trusses on the new bridge were beneath the roadway, providing motorists an unblocked view of Chesapeake Bay. The towers also were different: at a height of 379 feet, they stood 25 feet taller than their predecessor, and horizontal bracings gave the new towers a more streamlined look than the towers on the older bridge. Two 14-inch cables support the main suspension span 186 feet above the bay.
I’m not a fan of the younger bridge’s look or the decision to build 3 lanes instead of 4 and to not build towers with the “X” in them. Still, sailing underneath these bridges was exciting and I enjoyed photographing them. You spend what seems like an eternity sailing to them and then you get near them and it goes by very fast.
1 I have blogged previously about the Bay Bridge in San Francisco: The poor Bay Bridge and Bay Lights – San Francisco Bay Bridge to have amazing LED display. Also, the new eastern portion of the bridge, with a self anchoring span went into service this past weekend.
2From 1952 to 1964, US 50 came within a few miles of going from the Atlantic to the Pacific on either end. California truncated US 50 from San Francisco to West Sacramento when Interstate 80 was completed to avoid duplicate numbering. There have been signs on either end of US 50 commemorating the opposite terminus. If it were up to me, the US routes in California would have been retained and multi-plexed along their successor highways.
Highway markers from Shields Up!