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Old 12-10-2013, 10:42 AM   #1
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Highway Propane restrictions

The other day we were traveling south on 95 through Baltimore. We were not towing our airstream but an unfortunate soul we saw at the toll plaza was. He was being held up at the booth due to the propane restriction on traveling through the Baltimore tunnels. At that point I'm not sure how they handle it but I suppose they hold traffic and let him turn around and use one of the alternate routes. So I'm merely taking the opportunity to pass along the warning that when traveling with our trailers or RV's we need to pay attention to such restrictions. Baltimore is the ONLY propane restriction that applies to our towing that I'm aware of, are there others ????? Height is not usually a problem for us but I have, on occasion, needed to alter my route. So, beware when traveling. Stay alert and be prepared to alter your route accordingly.
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Old 12-10-2013, 11:11 AM   #2
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Maryland, Massachussetts, New York, and Texas each have at least one tunnel that has published restrictions on propane. Most of these tunnels allow propane to be carried, but only with the valves turned off. A few, such as the one in Bltimore that you mention, prohibit propane tanks altogether.
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Old 12-10-2013, 11:27 AM   #3
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Baltimore Tunnel

The CSX tunnel had a catastrophic fire in 2001, but the restriction against propane on in the car/truck tunnel has been around virtually forever. I think there was also a fire in the late 1950's or early 1960's in a tunnel in Baltimore caused by a propane truck explosion. I believe I read an article in Reader's Digest about it when I was a kid.

The entire loop around Baltimore and all approaches to the tunnel are excessively well signed - so I'm amazed that anyone even tries to use it with a camper. I've always taken the beltway since I got my first Airstream in 2005.

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Old 12-10-2013, 12:35 PM   #4
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A propane truck is different than a 30# tank. Much of these restrictions are knee jerk but it is good to know about the restrictions.

Perry
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Old 12-10-2013, 01:29 PM   #5
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I did that route last month. I was stupid enough to belive it meant comercial vehicles only, we stopped and called to find it meant camper/travel trailers as well. To me the sign should read RV's/ travel trailers as a seperate line to avoid the vaugeness/confusion. MPJ
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Old 12-10-2013, 02:55 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
Maryland, Massachussetts, New York, and Texas each have at least one tunnel that has published restrictions on propane. Most of these tunnels allow propane to be carried, but only with the valves turned off. A few, such as the one in Bltimore that you mention, prohibit propane tanks altogether.
You missed Virginia and New Jersey, Virginia has the Bay Bridge Tunnel which requires the propane off and in NJ a tunnel on Rt 29 prohibits propane altogether.

Also according to this site 2011 Driving Laws for the US and Canada open propane cylinders are not allowed while traveling on open highways in NJ.
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Old 12-10-2013, 03:14 PM   #7
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The entire loop around Baltimore and all approaches to the tunnel are excessively well signed - so I'm amazed that anyone even tries to use it with a camper. I've always taken the beltway since I got my first Airstream in 2005.
I've done it with the B190. I saw the "Propane Busters" sign but assumed it was talking about commercial or bulk deliveries - I think it wasn't until someone pointed it out on here that I realized it wasn't just them. Given people get stopped, I wouldn't recommend trying it, of course.

If you're really clever, you could remember that the booths are on the south side of the I-895 tunnels and on the north side of the I-95 tunnels, so by the time they'd tell you about it, you'd already be through...

The west side of the Baltimore Beltway is no tolls, but traffic is much heavier there than the east side. The east side also has the Key Bridge which is sometimes closed due to winds. Getting around Baltimore with a gallon of propane can be fun times sometimes...
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Old 12-10-2013, 04:29 PM   #8
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Back around the 70s to avoid the $2.50 tunnel toll we just drove the tractor trailer right through the inner harbor. Not a bad ride when you did it around lunch time and lots of pretty girls walking through the city. Even then it beat that terrible beltway. Sal
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Old 12-10-2013, 05:39 PM   #9
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I seem to recall in the past that the signs were more conspicuous when traveling in the Baltimore area. I'm aware of the restrictions so I hardly pay attention but the other day I don't recall seeing any signs until right on top of the toll plaza. Next time I'll look a bit closer.
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Old 12-10-2013, 09:27 PM   #10
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Thanks for the tip as I am heading that way next week.
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Old 12-11-2013, 06:27 AM   #11
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I seem to recall in the past that the signs were more conspicuous when traveling in the Baltimore area. I'm aware of the restrictions so I hardly pay attention but the other day I don't recall seeing any signs until right on top of the toll plaza. Next time I'll look a bit closer.
Yeah, I didn't want to argue with Foiled, but that's my recollection, too - it's just a small sign here and there with a propane tank and a Ghostbusters symbol over it (what did we call them before Ghostbusters came out?). Here is an example.
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Old 12-11-2013, 06:35 AM   #12
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Yeah, I didn't want to argue with Foiled, but that's my recollection, too - it's just a small sign here and there with a propane tank and a Ghostbusters symbol over it (what did we call them before Ghostbusters came out?). Here is an example.
It's the international "Do Not" symbol, also called the "No" or "Not Allowed" symbol. Not to be confused with the international "Donut" symbol, which lacks the diagonal line.
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Old 12-11-2013, 09:15 AM   #13
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Hi Eliset. There are other choices and they are not bad ones. There is the Key bridge that goes off to the east of 95 on the north side of Baltimore and signs are well posted. I think there is a toll on that choice. A little further south but still to the north of Baltimore you can divert off to the west onto 695. ( They are both part of the 695 loop). To the west there are no tolls so that would be my preferred route. Tolls can get pretty hefty towing 2 axle trailers these days. NOW, my choice when traveling south is to go into Penna. and use RTs 78 and 81. So look at your choices and choose. No tolls through PA and onto 81. South on 95 there are tolls in NJ, Del and ( the MD toll is northbound only).

Now Skater, not to be argumentative, but your advice to northbound travelers is dangerous. They can and will still stop you northbound if you make it through and ticket you. You are correct that there is no toll plaza to force a stop but beware Smokey is out there.
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Old 12-11-2013, 03:58 PM   #14
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I think I will try the Key Bridge, and pay the $8 toll. We will be staying in Mount Holly NJ the first nite. Thanks for the tips.
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