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Critical Infrastructure News


Maryland Transportation Authority


Oct. 27, 2016

Motorists Should Anticipate Heavy Traffic & Delays on Nov. 6

WHAT: Weather permitting, the eastbound span of the Bay Bridge (US 50/301) will be closed temporarily to traffic.

Two-way traffic operations will be in place on the westbound span. One lane of traffic will operate in each direction on the westbound span, with the center lane closed to traffic.  NOTE: The center lane may open to traffic intermittently to help reduce westbound delays.

In addition, the following closures and detours will be in place on the Eastern Shore during the event:

The off-ramp from eastbound US 50 to MD 8 will be closed.  A detour will be in place to direct motorists to the next exit at Thompson Creek Road.  From there, motorists will travel westbound on MD 835 to the signal at MD 8.

The on-ramp from MD 8 to westbound US 50 will be closed.  All traffic attempting to access westbound US 50 will be directed to MD 18, to the roundabout at Castle Marina Road and onto westbound US 50.

MD 18 between Main Street and Love Point Road will be closed.  All traffic will be detoured through Stevensville on Love Point Road and Main Street.

In addition, residents wishing to travel west on US 50 are advised to approach the highway from either Duke Street or Castle Marina Road.

WHEN: Sunday, Nov. 6, from approximately 12:01 a.m. – 2 p.m.

WHY: The “Across the Bay 10K” running event will be held on the eastbound span.  For additional information on the event, visit 

Motorists using the Bay Bridge on Nov. 6 will experience significant delays throughout the day. To avoid delays, motorists are urged to travel prior to 6 a.m. or after 6 p.m.

To view real-time traffic camera images at the Bay Bridge, visit  For real-time updates on major incidents follow us on Twitter at  Find us on Facebook at  The MDTA thanks motorists for their patience.

6 dead in Baltimore school bus, commuter bus crash

Six people have died after a school bus and commuter bus collided early Tuesday in Southwest Baltimore, police said.  No students were on the school bus during the crash, police said.  Baltimore Police representative T.J. Smith said "significant injuries" were reported, and that closures should be expected in the 3800 block of Frederick Avenue.  The crash prompted significant response from Baltimore Fire Department medics, and closed Frederick Avenue near Monastery Avenue.

Five people on board the MTA bus died, while the driver on the school bus died, Smith said at a Tuesday morning news conference.  Ten patients were transported from the scene, including the lone passenger on board the school bus, an aide, Smith said.  More than a dozen passengers were on board the MTA bus, Smith said.  After striking a Ford Mustang and a pillar at a cemetery, the yellow school bus crashed head-on into the front, driver side of the MTA bus, crumpling the front of the school bus and ripping the side off the commuter vehicle.

Source: Baltimore Sun

New Jersey train engineer applied brakes just before crash: NTSB

A New Jersey commuter train accelerated to twice the speed limit shortly before it crashed into a station in Hoboken last week, investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board said on Thursday.  The engineer applied the brakes less than a second before the train crashed into the station's bumping post, according to information obtained from the train data recorder, the investigators said. A woman on the station platform was killed in the Sept. 29 crash and more than 100 people were injured. The NTSB said preliminary data showed the train was traveling at 21 miles per hour at the time of the crash, twice the maximum 10 mph speed limit in the station.  The train had been traveling at 8 mph 38 seconds prior to the collision and then speed began to increase and reached a maximum of about 21 mph before the crash.

The NTSB said the engineer-induced emergency braking occurred less than a second before the collision. The engineer of the train told investigators he was fully rested but has no memory of the incident, the NTSB said Sunday. Thomas Gallagher, a 29-year New Jersey Transit veteran who was injured when the train derailed, told investigators the train was running at 10 miles an hour when it was approaching the station, NTSB vice chair Bella Dinh-Zarr said at a news conference Sunday. When interviewed by investigators, Gallagher said he conducted various procedures, including checking the train's speedometer, and put his cellphone away during the trip, NTSB said this week.

The NTSB said the investigation remains in the fact-gathering phase, which could take a year or more. The data from the event data recorders is preliminary and subject to change as it is validated. The terminal, through which some 60,000 people pass on a typical weekday, remains closed.

New Jersey Transit had no immediate comment on the report.

Source: Reuters

Transit bus fire in Maryland linked to battery pack

A Maryland county’s public transit agency says it has taken all its electric buses out of service after a fire linked to the battery pack on one of the vehicles. TransIT Services of Frederick County spokeswoman Kendall Tiffany said in an email Thursday that the manufacturer is inspecting all five electric vehicles in the fleet. She says the fire Tuesday in Frederick was contained in the lithium-ion battery pack on the roof. No passengers were aboard. Lithium-ion batteries have been linked to fires in some smartphones and hoverboards, and aboard several cargo jets. The agency put the buses in service in May after buying them from Complete Coach Works of Riverside, California. The company retrofits older buses with batteries. Company spokeswoman Celeste Casas declined to comment, citing the continuing investigation.

‘Huge security gap’ lets dangerous packages enter US through postal system

Every day, about a million packages are shipped into the U.S.  through the U.S. Postal Service from China, Russia, India and other countries.  Many packages are not checked for dangerous and illegal contents, posing what the co-leader of a new national security project calls a “huge security gap.”

“The gap is essentially when mail is sent to the United States from foreign countries; if it’s of a certain weight, it doesn’t go through normal cargo surveillance like the mail that is sent through private mailing services such as UPS and FedEx,” said Juliette Kayyem, of Americans for Securing All Packages (ASAP).

Every year, according to ASAP, 340 million mail items, from small letters to large boxes, sent from foreign postal systems enter the U.S. postal system delivery stream — without electronic data that could tip off intelligence agencies to a threat.  Shipping companies, on the other hand, are required under the 2002 U.S. Trade Act to collect what is called advance electronic security data.  It is used to track hundreds of millions of the packages that flow into the United States from foreign countries each year.  The law did not call for the immediate utilization of the system by the USPS.  It said the DHS and the Treasury Department should consult with the postmaster general to determine whether it would be appropriate to implement.

The system, according to Kayyem, a former assistant secretary of Homeland Security for Intergovernmental Affairs in the Obama administration, has “managed, surveyed, looked at and assessed (packages) to determine whether there’s a threat.”

“A perfect example,” said Kayyem, “is if there is an address in Russia that is sending packages to a specific address in Baltimore that seems to be too consistent and of the same weight every time. We know this is how a lot of narcotics are getting into the country.”

On Oct. 29, 2010, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula shipped two packages to the United States containing bombs hidden in printer cartridges. The FedEx and UPS packages never made it — they were intercepted in the U.K. and Dubai, thanks to a lucky break: intelligence provided by a former al-Qaida terrorist.  The memory of that near-miss haunts many current and former security officials, who know that even though it’s been mandated, and the capability exists in the private sector, there still is no such system for the U.S. Postal Service for packages sent from foreign postal services.

As a result, ASAP, led by Kayyem and Tom Ridge, the first secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, seeks to close what it calls in a statement “a dangerous security gap that leaves our nation vulnerable to terrorist attacks and invites illegal and toxic drugs into our communities.”

In an alert released by the postal service’s Office of the Inspector General on Sept. 3, 2015, the agency was criticized for its practices. “We are issuing this alert because some inbound international mail is not being presented for inspection, as required by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. This could present public safety and security concerns, which could reflect poorly on the Postal Service’s brand or image,” said the alert.

Read further at WTOP