Maryland Roads - US 50/301/secret I-595

US 50/301 and secret I-595

That would be EAST 50, NORTH 301. This would be MD 424 NB.

The secret existence of I-595 allows a 2di to begin here at a pair of US routes. Despite the laziness of most signs, US 301 remains north-south. I-97 would be much better as part of I-83, since 97 is the shortest mainland 2di. It was built up over divided expressways, and was part of a larger plan to have an I-197 near Annapolis, an I-297 over the current route and back down 50/301 (instead of 595), and 97 itself on a more westerly alignment along MD 3. Even with all that, it would still be way too short. The first photo is courtesy Doug Kerr and the second is under the EB/NB ramp to I-97 NB.

More sign laziness for US 301, some destination gets covered (Parole? I could see why if so), and then a trip across the Severn River. The signs are so lazy, they don't even include MD 2, which is sharing the ride SB.

MD 70 NB and SB at Exit 24, with a completely different kind of laziness. The US 301 shields were just left out altogether, with no provision for them. None at all. Oh, so what's that blank space for US 50 WB? That's where an I-595 shield was meant to go, if MdSHA ever decided to reveal their secret. It begins here in Annapolis, hence the lack of inclusion for US 50 EB.

Another US 301 omission, on a new sign far from the highway, proving that it's "Highway 50" in the minds of Marylanders. This one's on Spa Rd. SB (MD 387) at Forest Drive in Annapolis.

The sign designer was lazy, but the contractors made up for it by cutting the shield out. These are on College Pkwy., the north frontage road of US 50/301 (and I-595) west of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

Westbound on the north frontage road (College Pkwy.) and EB on the south frontage road, both as they come to MD 179 (but first College Pkwy. has to jog north, and it really needs a big black-on-yellow arrow to do so). I already accept that I won't see a SOUTH banner, so this is the best I'll get.

It's surprisingly hard to get a good vantage of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. These look south from way up at Fort Howard.

I delved into a Stevensville neighborhood on Kent Island off MD 8 and eventually found Chesapeake Drive at Bayside Drive. (Disclaimer: The second two photos are from farther up Bayside Drive, as I was hunting for a good view.) The best part of this vantage is that it's from a playground, so you (meaning me) can enjoy some swing time as well as bridge time.

More side photos of the original EB and newer WB bridges. The old suspension span is definitely better, but I may actually prefer the newer arch to the older cantilever truss on the east side.

From the crossover area (in case a bridge is closed) through the westbound arch as I set out from Kent Island, with fond looks over at the eastbound truss. Both bridges are nearly completely reversible - in theory, there could be four lanes in one direction, but in practice, it's usually only a 3/2 setup. The full reversibility is only utilized when one of the bridges is closed in an emergency (or possibly overnight bridge work). I threw in a photo of new striping (as of 2014) with the reversible lane as a white-double yellow solid combo instead of dashed double-yellow. This doesn't work for me, since contraflow traffic would have a white stripe on their side and there's a double yellow even if all lanes are going the same direction. Go back to the old way.

Completing my journey through the newer suspension bridge, again with looks at the older one next to me. Shields were added under the cables on both spans in 2014 to completely ruin the aesthetics, which you can see in the 3rd-5th and 8th photos.

If that wasn't enough, click to enjoy this video doing the same thing!

What if I want to stay on US 301? Where will I end up then? I'm clearly on it now, as the shields in the background attest. Not liking my choices, I leave the WB freeway at Exit 42, and find out that maybe I haven't left US 50 after all. Every road is 50, there are no other choices.

Westbound on the north frontage road at Exits 45B (first photo) and 45A (second photo). There's almost enough room for US 301 on the second sign, but it's pretty clear no thought was given to 301 at all, even though it's come this way for over 50 years. This frontage road is technically MD 835, a holdover of state jurisdiction from back when this was the main road to Kent Island (MD 18 before US 50 came across).

Onto US 50 alone (and with secret I-595)
Onto US 301 alone

Exit 21 to I-97
Exit 42 to MD 18
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