Reaching the beach takes time

November 10, 2019

Every summer, my parents took me and my five sisters to Ocean City, Md. We looked forward to crossing the bay bridge. We would pile into our nine-passenger station wagon with our board games, transistor radios, and bags of Mary Janes, Necco wafers, and Good & Plenty.

Once the traffic slowed, our father would bellow, “Crank open the windows, girls! There’s no sense in paying for air conditioning.” And there we were: one hot, unhappy family of eight en route to a week of sunshine and sand.

The third row of our station wagon faced the cars behind us. When the traffic came to a crawl, we used to wave at the drivers. But once we became teenagers, we were mortified to be staring directly at total strangers.

In order to survive the journey, I invented a game called Face Your Sister. The three sisters in the back had to get on their knees and look eye to eye at the three sisters in the middle seat who were also on their haunches. Whoever could hold the position for the longest amount of time was the winner!

Nobody won the game because our father threatened to leave us on the side of the road.  His arm out the window in sweltering heat, he would rail, “This is the last summer we are going to the beach!”

Often I am asked the question: How did you wind up here?  Ocean City is the first part of the answer. Later, as teenagers, we discovered Rehoboth Beach. Eventually, I discovered the charm of Lewes when I took a day trip to Cape Henlopen State Park with my friend Joan.

We strolled the quiet Lewes streets, enjoying unique shops, and lunched at the iconic Buttery. I hoped to live in Lewes someday. In 2005, it became a reality.

Ironically, now that we live in Delaware, we often find ourselves crossing the bridge to see family and friends in the D.C. area and points south.

We plan our excursions around what we think will be the best travel times, just like the friends do who visit us. We dial the bridge number, 877-229-7726, and get the latest traffic report. Everyone tries to avoid Fridays and Sundays.

In a Washington Post article from Aug. 27, 2019, Katherine Shaver wrote, “Autumn backups are rivaling those typically seen on the busiest summer beach weekends. Eastbound backups one recent Friday in October stretched for 14 miles, snarling traffic across a large swath of Anne Arundel County for 10 hours.”

In a later Post article (Oct. 16, 2019) Shaver wrote, “The problems are the recent closure of the westbound span’s right lane to replace the bridge deck. That has left two lanes to accommodate morning commuters, as well as Sunday evening traffic returning from beaches and large weekend events on the Eastern Shore.”

Shaver said Hogan was so upset at the delays that he “directed the Maryland Transportation Authority, which operates the bridge, to remove all toll booths, which slow traffic, and implement cashless tolling at all times as soon as possible.” State officials said it takes time to remove the toll booths, install overhead gantries and make other necessary changes.

Research revealed that the Maryland Transit Authority, which owns and operates the Bay Bridge, has been conducting a $5 million study since 2016 to determine if a third bridge can be built.

Authorities are saying traffic will only get worse if we don’t build it. As you can imagine, there are lots of ideas, and if you want to learn more, go to

Build it, I say. The bridges which lead to Lewes are lovely to me.

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