The recent accident that sent a tractor trailer off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge into the water below was not the first of its kind. Former Kent Island emergency medical technician Mary Lou Meadows of Grasonville says she responded to a similar accident on December 2, 1981. She says a tractor trailer lost control of his rig, struck a guardrail, and went off the eastbound causeway into about five feet of water. Unlike the more recent accident, the truck driver survived. The Easton Star-Democrat also reports a close call in March 1980 when a tractor trailer broke through the retaining wall on the westbound bridge span. The cab reportedly dangled about 30 feet above the water, and crews needed more than an hour to rescue the driver.
State transportation officials continue to examine the safety barriers along the Bay Bridge. The Maryland Transportation Authority’s chief engineer says the jersey walls are nearly a foot below modern construction standards and need to be raised. The agency is now trying to determine the best way to strengthen the barriers and bring them up to the current standard.