How Much Does it Cost to go Across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge?

Written by: Staff

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge crosses the Chesapeake Bay, providing vehicles access between Stevensville (the Maryland Eastern Shore) and Annapolis (Sandy Point).  It was officially named the William-Preston Lane, Jr. Memorial Bridge.

The Bay Bridge is part of the U.S. Routes 301 and 50, and it currently serves as a crucial link in both routes.

The bridge spans 4.3 miles long and has a capacity for about 1,500 vehicles per hour, per lane.  The annual traffic on this bridge is estimated to surpass 27 million vehicles.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge at Sunset by m01229, on Flickr
Chesapeake Bay Bridge at Sunset” (CC BY 2.0) by  m01229

How much does it cost to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge?

The cost will greatly depend on the vehicle you’re driving and the time of the year as the bridge does charge peak and non-peak prices.  Refer to our table to see what the bridge charges to cross:

1Two-axle, four-tire vehicle including passenger
car, pick-up truck, panel truck, station wagon,
motorcycle (including all attachments), and
minibus/van with 15 or less seating capacity;
Two-axle, six tire vehicle less than 8’ in height
- $13 off peak
- $15 peak

If you return within 24 hours, then:

- $5 off peak
- $3 peak

** Peak pricing is Friday through Sunday during May 15 until September 15.
Class 1 vehicle with 30 or more 1-way trips
in 30 days

* This requires EZPass
2Class 1 vehicle towing one-axle trailer- $18
- $10 if returning in less than 24 hours
3Class 1 vehicle towing two-axle trailer or another two-axle vehicle- $22
- $14 if returning in less than 24 hours
4Class 1 vehicle towing three-axle trailer- $26
- $18 if returning in less than 24 hours
8School Buses as defined by the Code of Virginia$1
14Two-axle bus$33
16Three-axle bus$33
9Two-axle, six-tire vehicle over 8’ in height
(except buses), not to exceed 42,000 lbs.
10Three-axle vehicle, (except buses); Class 9 vehicle
towing one-axle trailer, not to exceed 63,000 lbs.
11Four-axle vehicle; Class 9 vehicle towing two-axle
trailer or other two-axle vehicle; Class 10 vehicle
towing one-axle trailer; not to exceed 77,700 lbs.
12 Five-axle vehicle; Class 9 vehicle towing three-axle trailer;
Class 10 vehicle towing two-axle trailer; Class 11 vehicle
towing one-axle trailer, not to exceed 84,000 lbs.
13Six axle vehicle; Class 10 vehicle towing three-axle trailer;
Class 11 vehicle towing two-axle trailer; Class 12 vehicle
towing one-axle trailer, not to exceed 84,000 lbs.
16Special over-dimension vehicle*, i.e. vehicles
unable to maintain 45 mph, exceeding 84,000 lbs.,
100 feet in length, or 8’6” width.

NOTE:  These prices are accurate as of 2017 and came directly from the official website.

Tips to know:

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge, otherwise referred to as the Bay Bridge, is a key dual-span bridge located in the state of Maryland, US.  Spanning the Chesapeake Bay, this bridge links the state’s rural Eastern Shore area with the Western Shore. The  Chesapeake Bay Bridge was officially named The William-Preston-Lane Jr. Memorial (Bay) Bridge.

The bridge takes Route 50 across the Chesapeake Bay between Annapolis and Kent Island areas.  The Bay Bridge is 4.3 miles long and is one of the longest over-water structures in worldwide.  This bridge is actually 2-side by side bridges with two traffic lanes on each span.  The very first bridge (the eastbound span) was opened in July of 1952, while the second bridge (the westbound span) was opened in June of 1973.

Usually, all lanes on every span have traffic moving in a similar direction.  However, during rush hours, as well as times with heavy weekend beach traffic, these lanes change direction to ease traffic congestion.  The lanes have been marked clearly with lighted marking in order to show which way to go.

What are the extra costs?

The other additional cost to consider is the escort fees ($154) for over-width vehicles.

According to the official website, there are certain times when the bridge may be closed.  While some of these may be due to winter weather, the wind is one of the main concerns:

Wind Warning – Sustained wind speeds or wind gusts of 30-39 mph.  When wind warnings are in effect, operators of house trailers, box trailers, motorcycles, vehicles with roof-mount racks containing cargo or any other vehicle that may be subject to high winds are advised to use caution while traveling across the bridge.

Wind Restriction I – Sustained wind speeds or wind gusts of 40-49 mph.  When wind restrictions are implemented, house trailers, empty box trailers or any vehicle that, in the opinion of law-enforcement personnel, may not safely cross the bridge will be prohibited from traveling the bridge. Motorists who are denied passage will be assisted with safely turning around.

Wind Restriction II – Sustained wind speeds or wind gusts exceeding 50 mph.  Only automobiles, pickup trucks, flatbed trailers, commercial buses and heavy-laden tractor/trailers are permitted to cross the bridge. Tractor-box trailer combinations will not be permitted to cross any bridge if the gross weight is less than 64,000 pounds.

Traffic Holds/Bridge Closure – Sustained wind speeds or wind gusts exceeding 55 mph.  In the event of a sudden increase of sustained wind speeds or wind gusts that could jeopardize life or property, the MDTA may elect to discontinue the movement of traffic across the bridge.

How can I save money?

The rates include a discounted 24-hour return rate ($5-peak hours and $3-off peak hours) for 2-axle, 4-tire vehicles pulling a trailer.  The discounts offered by the CBBT are for E-ZPass customers only.

Even though it seems like the transponder is an extra cost, there is a chance that you can end up saving money by using the E-ZPass.  Instead of having to stop and swipe your card, there is a transponder that can be mounted to your car.  This transponder has an initial fee of $34, but it also comes with a $25 toll credit.  This means that the transponder ends up costing you $9.  This transponder is linked to your account, in which you can sign up for a certain E-ZPass plan.

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