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2012 Temporary Closure of I-395 Just South of Conway Street in the City of Baltimore to Vehicular Traffic to Accommodate the Construction and Operation of the Baltimore Grand Prix

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Sports/Touring Car Racing American Government Topics:  Baltimore Grand Prix

2012 Temporary Closure of I-395 Just South of Conway Street in the City of Baltimore to Vehicular Traffic to Accommodate the Construction and Operation of the Baltimore Grand Prix

Victor M. Mendez
Federal Highway Administration
August 30, 2012


[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 169 (Thursday, August 30, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 52784-52785]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-21396]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Highway Administration

[Docket No. FHWA-2012-0059]


2012 Temporary Closure of I-395 Just South of Conway Street in 
the City of Baltimore to Vehicular Traffic to Accommodate the 
Construction and Operation of the Baltimore Grand Prix

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.

ACTION: Final notice.

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SUMMARY: The FHWA has approved a request from Maryland Transportation 
Authority (MDTA) to temporarily close a portion of I-395 (just south of 
Conway Street in Baltimore City) from approximately 6 p.m. on 
Wednesday, August 29, until approximately 6 a.m. on Tuesday, September 
4. The closure is requested to accommodate the construction and 
operation of the Baltimore Grand Prix (BGP), which will use the streets 
of downtown Baltimore as a race course.
    The approval is granted in accordance with the provisions of 23 CFR 
658.11 which authorizes the deletion of segments of the federally 
designated routes that make up the National Network designated in 
Appendix A of 23 CFR part 658. The FHWA published a Notice and Request 
for Comment on July 9, 2012, seeking comments from the general public 
on this request submitted by the MDTA for a deletion in accordance with 
23 CFR 658.11(d). No public comments were received.

DATES: Effective Date(s): This Notice is effective immediately.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. John Nicholas, Truck Size and 
Weight Program Manager in the Office of Freight Management, (202) 366-
2317; Mr. William Winne, Office of the Chief Counsel, (202) 366-0791, 
Federal Highway Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., 
Washington, DC 20590; and Mr. Gregory Murrill, FHWA Division 
Administrator--DELMAR Division, (410) 962-4440. Office hours for the 
FHWA are from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except 
Federal holidays.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Electronic Access and Filing

    You may retrieve a copy of the Notice and Request for Comment, 
comments submitted to the docket, and a copy of this final notice 
through the Federal eRulemaking portal at: http://www.regulations.gov. 
The Web site is available 24 hours each day, every day of the year. 
Electronic submission and retrieval help and guidelines are available 
under the help section of the Web site.
    An electronic copy of this document may also be downloaded from 
Office of the Federal Register's home page at: http://www.archives.gov/federal_register and the Government Printing Office's Web page at: 
http://www.gpoaccess.gov.

Background

    The MDTA submitted a request to the FHWA for approval of the 
temporary closure of I-395 just south of Conway Street in the city of 
Baltimore from the period beginning Wednesday, August 29, at 
approximately 6 p.m. through Tuesday, September 4, at around 6 a.m., 
encompassing the Labor Day holiday. This closure will be undertaken in 
support of the BGP which will use the streets of downtown Baltimore as 
a race course. The MDTA is the owner and operator of I-395 and I-95 
within the city of Baltimore.
    The FHWA is responsible for enforcing the Federal regulations 
applicable to the National Network of highways that can safely and 
efficiently accommodate the large vehicles authorized by provisions of 
the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982, as amended, 
designated in accordance with 23 CFR part 658 and listed in Appendix A. 
In accordance with 23 CFR 658.11, the FHWA may approve

[[Page 52785]]

deletions or restrictions of the Interstate system or other National 
Network route based upon specified justification criteria in section 
658.11(d)(2). Requests for deletions are published in the Federal 
Register for notice and comment.

Notice and Request for Comment

    The FHWA published a Notice and Request for Comment on July 9, 
seeking comments from the general public on this request submitted by 
the MDTA for a deletion in accordance with 23 CFR 658.11(d). The 
comment period closed on August 9. No public comments were received.
    The FHWA sought comments on this request for temporary deletion 
from the National Network in accordance with 23 CFR 658.11(d). 
Specifically, the request is for approval of the temporary closure of 
I-395 just south of Conway Street in the city of Baltimore from the 
period beginning Wednesday August 29, at approximately 6 p.m. through 
Tuesday, September 4, at around 6 a.m., encompassing the Labor Day 
holiday. This closure will be undertaken in support of the BGP which 
will use the streets of downtown Baltimore as a race course. It is 
anticipated the BGP event will be hosted in the city of Baltimore for 
the next 4 consecutive years. The inaugural event occurred September 2 
through September 4, 2011. The event is expected to attract 160,000 
spectators over a 3-4 day period, not including the event organizer 
workforce and volunteers, the racing organizations and their respective 
personnel, or media and vendors. Event planners expect spectators from 
within a 400-mile radius of the city, with a large portion traveling 
the I-95 corridor. It is anticipated that the attendance for the peak 
day (Sunday) will reach 70,000 people with most arriving by private 
vehicle.
    The construction and operation of the race course will create 
safety concerns by obstructing access from the I-395 northern terminus 
to the local street system including Howard Street, Conway Street, and 
Lee Street. However, an existing connection from I-395 to Martin Luther 
King, Jr. Boulevard will remain open throughout the event. In addition, 
access to and from I-95 into and out of the city along alternative 
access routes, including US 1, US 40, Russell Street, and Washington 
Boulevard will be maintained. The BGP and the city plan to update the 
2011 signing plan to inform and guide motorists to, through, and around 
the impacted downtown area. The statewide transportation operations 
system, the Coordinated Highways Action Response Team, will provide 
real-time traffic information to motorists through dynamic message 
signs and highway advisory radio. The MDTA states that the temporary 
closure of this segment of I-395 to general traffic should have no 
impact on Interstate commerce. I-95, the main north-south Interstate 
route in the region, will remain open during the time period of the 
event. There are five additional I-95 interchanges, just to the north 
or south of I-395, with connections to the local street system 
including the arterials servicing the city's downtown area. A sign and 
supplemental traffic control systems plan was developed as part of the 
2011 event's Traffic Management Plan (TMP). In addition, I-695 
(Baltimore Beltway) will provide motorists traveling through the region 
the ability to bypass the impact area by circling around the city.
    Commercial motor vehicles of the dimensions and configurations 
described in 23 CFR 658.13 and 658.15 which serve the impacted area, 
may use the alternate routes listed above. Vehicles servicing the 
businesses bordering the impacted area will still be able to do so by 
also using the alternative routes noted above to circulate around the 
restricted area. In addition, vehicles not serving businesses in the 
restricted area but, currently using I-395 and the local street system 
to reach their ultimate destinations, will be able to use the I-95 
interchanges north and south of I-395 to access the alternative routes. 
A map depicting the alternative routes is available electronically at 
the docket established for this notice at http://www.regulations.gov. 
The MDTA has reviewed these alternative routes and determined the 
routes to generally be capable of safely accommodating the diverted 
traffic during the period of temporary restriction. As mentioned 
previously, the sign and supplemental traffic control system plan is 
also being updated as part of the event's TMP. Commercial vehicles as 
well as general traffic leaving the downtown area will also be able to 
use the alternative routes to reach I-95 and the rest of the Interstate 
System. The BGP and the city are working closely with businesses, 
including the hotels and restaurants located within the impact area, to 
schedule deliveries prior to the proposed I-395 closure to the extent 
feasible. The BGP is also working with affected businesses to schedule 
delivery services during the event period.
    The original plan uses a credentialing process for access through 
designated gates with access to specific loading areas. This request to 
temporarily close I-395 was prepared for the MDTA by the BGP and the 
city. In addition, the city has reached out to the Federal, State, and 
local agencies to collaborate and coordinate efforts to address the 
logistical challenges of hosting the BGP. The BGP and the city have 
worked extensively with the businesses and residential communities in 
the city that could be affected by the event. These efforts include the 
formation of Task Forces and event Sub-Committees, to guide the 
development of plans for event security, transportation management, 
public safety and more.
    The FHWA did not receive any comments in response to the Notice and 
Request for Comment. After full consideration of the MDTA request 
discussed in this final notice and determining that the request meets 
the requirements of 23 CFR 658.11(d), FHWA approves the deletion as 
proposed.

    Authority:  23 U.S.C. 127, 315 and 49 U.S.C. 31111, 31112, and 
31114; 23 CFR part 658.

    Issued on: August 24, 2012.
Victor M. Mendez,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2012-21396 Filed 8-29-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-22-P



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