Picture a NASA-style situation room: Rows of desks face a bank of video screens on a large wall. That’s the Maryland Highway Administration’s Statewide Operations Center, a sort of traffic-monitoring war room just south of Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport. And at 3:40 p.m. yesterday, Op Center manager Alvin Marquess offered the kind of observation only someone paid to worry about Labor Day traffic would deliver: “It’s just moving too good,” said Marquess. The screens showed traffic humming along, good news for motorists.
Traffic continued to be delightfully light into the evening, such that by 5:30 p.m. Marquess was calling conditions better than a typical summer Sunday. By 8:20, there were still no major backups reported. Marquess cited several possible reasons. Gasoline prices and the sluggish economy might have crimped travel plans. Motorists could have dispersed themselves among alternative routes or not traveled. Finally, spectacular weather undoubtedly caused some beachgoers to milk their weekend all day yesterday, spacing out return times. “It’s probably a whole combination of things,” Marquess said.