The Building of the Second Chesapeake Bay Bridge
Last updated 1 November 2009

On July 30,1952, a 4.3-mile two-lane bridge spanning Chesapeake Bay from Sandy Point near Annapolis to Kent Island in Queen Anne's County opened the door to the Eastern Shore. That bridge was designed by J.E. Greiner Co., Inc. of Baltimore and cost $44 million to build. The ferryboats that once ruled the Chesapeake were put into mothballs. The Bay Bridge opened once isolated sections of Delmarva to traffic. Cars crossed the span in ever-increasing numbers. By the mid-1960s, pressure grew to build a new bay crossing. A three-lane span - referred to as a “modernized look-alike” parallel to the first bridge also designed by Greiner opened in 1973 at a cost of $117 million. During 2004, approximately 25.8 million vehicles crossed the Bay Bridge. It averages more than 70,000 vehicle crossings a day

I was a junior majoring in Radio-Television-Speech at the University of Maryland - College Park in April 1973. In connection with an assignment in a television production class, Greiner officials permited me to tour the construction site. I was joined by two classmates. These pictures were taken that spring day. Much to my disbelief -- and gratitude -- the company allowed us to walk up the suspension cables to the top of the western tower, some 450 feet above Chesapeake Bay. We were also allowed climb down into the artificial island that anchored the towers. After our three-hour adventure ended, I stopped at a McDonald's restaurant outside of Annapolis to call my mom and tell her what I had just done. For the record, she was horrified. Also for the record, I got an "A" on the project!

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