14 votes

Chesapeake Bay Bridge


Photo taken by Daniel McFarland


BH Photo #132685

Street Views 


Construction Dates: July 30, 1952 (eastbound) June 28, 1973 (westbound)

By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun:

The first serious consideration of a bridge crossing [at this location] was made by Peter C. Campbell in a Sept. 3, 1907, address before the Travelers and Merchants Association.

Campbell's proposal was a bridge carrying an interurban electric railroad that could transport both goods and people.

A year later, the association endorsed Campbell's plan with the building of a bascule bridge (a type of drawbridge), which The Sun promoted in an article as establishing and "opening commercial intercourse with the rich Eastern Shore Country. An illustration is afforded by the fact that Chestertown, which is now 107 miles by rail, would be 32 miles distant."

Then the idea seemed to sputter during World War I and for much of the next decade. In an effort to deal with the increased motor traffic, the State Roads Commission established a ferry route between Claiborne and Annapolis in 1916.

A new ferry terminal and route was started at Matapeake in 1930, which replaced the former ferry route. It reduced the water distance from 23 miles to 8.7 miles, with travel taking only an hour, allowing more frequent service. It would eventually become the site of the Bay Bridge.

In 1926, the private Chesapeake Bridge Co. announced plans to construct a span from Miller and Hart islands to Tolchester. The next year, a bill was introduced in the state legislature to allow the Chesapeake Tunnel and Bridge Co. to construct a bridge and tunnel between Sandy Point and Kent Island.

Gov. Albert C. Ritchie suggested the state take over the project when the private company was unable to find suitable financing, and in 1930, he appointed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Commission.

The project again stalled with the coming of the Depression, and years of more commissions and studies ensued. In 1935, the state legislature established the Chesapeake Bay Authority, which was authorized to issue revenue bonds.

Evening Sun reporter H.L. Mencken said the entire project was assembled by "the artful hand of Realtors" who saw unlimited prosperity in opening up the Eastern Shore with a bridge.

In a 1935 article in The Evening Sun, Mencken called the bridge project nothing more than "Castles In the Air," and wrote that nothing could stop the "go-getters backing the scheme and that it was a shameless assault upon the State treasury."

"They are out to get the bridge, cost what it may, and unless the taxpayers of the State, and especially Baltimore, offer a more formidable resistance than has been shown so far it will undoubtedly be built," he wrote.

Then there was squabbling over where and how many bridges should be built.

"The lynchers and Bible students of Trans-Choptankia will be wanting a third, with one leg in Cove Point and the other in the swamps of Dorchester County, so that they may have access to the halls and Library of Congress and better booze than they have at home," observed Mencken.

The outbreak of World War II ended hopes of a bridge, but the idea was revived in 1945 by Theodore Roosevelt McKeldin, then mayor of Baltimore and later governor.

The next year, the project was again pushed by Gov. William Preston Lane, and construction commenced in 1949. The Bay Bridge is named for Lane, who persevered in making it a reality.

Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md-bay-bridge-b...


Pair of suspension and cantilever truss bridges over Chesapeake Bay on US 50
Anne Arundel County, Maryland, and Queen Anne's County, Maryland
Open to traffic
Original two-lane spans with through-truss suspension bridge and regular cantilever design built 1949-52 and opened 1952; second three-lane span with deck suspension and arched cantilever opened 1973; rehabilitated 1988
- Dexter R. Smith
- Raymond Archibald
Wire suspension
Length of largest span: 1,600.1 ft.
Total length: 21,287.1 ft. (4.0 mi.)
Deck width: 27.9 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 16.0 ft.
Also called
Gov. William Preston Lane Bridge
Bay Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+38.99126, -76.37156   (decimal degrees)
38°59'29" N, 76°22'18" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/381217/4316701 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Kent Island
Average daily traffic (as of 2017)
Inventory number
BH 19532 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of May 2017)
Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 63.1 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • January 1, 2021: New photo from Josh Schmid
  • October 24, 2017: New Street View added by Matthew
  • July 1, 2017: New photo from Chris Meiners
  • April 7, 2017: Updated by Christopher Finigan: Added categories "Cantilevered", "Cantilevered truss"
  • March 26, 2016: Updated by Don Morrison: removed Queen Anne (Hardesty) in "city" entry
  • March 25, 2016: Updated by Elliott Johnson: Added category "Queen Anne (Hardesty), Maryland"
  • February 23, 2015: Photos imported by Dave King
  • October 4, 2014: New photos from Patrick S. O'Donnell
  • June 14, 2013: Updated by M. D. Caillet: Added category "US 301"
  • May 31, 2013: Updated by Alexander D. Mitchell IV: Added additional information, name, and history
  • April 19, 2010: New Street View added by Nathan Holth
  • January 28, 2009: New photos from Daniel McFarland
  • August 26, 2008: Updated by Michael Goff: added builders



Chesapeake Bay Bridge blueprint copies
Posted August 8, 2017, by Mark Nerenberg (Nerenbergm2 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Saw a film/documentary and believe it was the daughter or granddaughter of the builder of this bridge who had possession of these plans Not shore if this is Peter C. Cambell"s family or held by J.E. Greiner Co. In either event we just moved to Crisfield Maryland and though it would be a great original gift to frame for my wife, but can't locate to request a copy. Can you help?


Mark Nerenberg

11 Columbia Ave.

Crisfield, Maryland 21817

Chesapeake Bay Bridge
Posted March 26, 2016, by Don Morrison

apostrophe and the "s" as well! LOL

Removed Queen Anne (Hardesty) from "city" entry; can't add Queen Anne's county for reason's (lol) already mentioned ....

Chesapeake Bay Bridge
Posted March 26, 2016, by Barry (bllauver [at] toad [dot] net)

As Andy Peters pointed out earlier: The two counties connected are Anne Arundel County and Queen Anne's County (complete with apostrophe.)

Chesapeake Bay Bridge
Posted March 26, 2016, by Don Morrison

Mr. Elliot incorrectly listed this as at the "city" of Hardesty.

The web page only has provision for locating the bridge across adjacent counties, and not across the bay. It should also be in Queen Anne County, but James needs to correct this issue, as mentioned in previous posts.

Hardesty is the official name of the other place named Queen Anne in Maryland, and is inland, on the Patuxent River, west of the Bay.

Thus, the two locations for this bridge should be Anne Arundel county and Queen Anne County.

Reference this other bridge, it is at Hardesty:


Chesapeake Bay Bridge
Posted March 25, 2016, by Barry (bllauver [at] toad [dot] net)

Mr. Elliot, You did not leave an e-mail address. What precisely does "Queen Anne, Hardesty" mean? I know that Hardesty is a common name in this part of Maryland, and I know that the eastern ends of the bridges are in Queen Anne's County on Kent Island, but what does your addition refer to?

Chesapeake Bay Bridge
Posted December 16, 2015, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)


You are correct about Anne Arundel County not being listed as a choice. But, that is a problem that can only be fixed by the Webmaster, James Baughn. Have you tried contacting him about this?

Chesapeake Bay Bridge
Posted December 16, 2015, by Andy Peters (anpete1971 [at] gmail [dot] com)

connects Queen Anne's County, Md., and Anne Arundel County, Md., but this site does not let you indicate that