ASSATEAGUE — Improvements to the entrance area of the Oversand Vehicle Zone (OSV) at the Maryland side of Assateague Island are expected to improve the entry process, but there will be some growing pains first.
The National Park Service (NPS) will be working on improvements to the entrance area of the Maryland Oversand Vehicle Zone (OSV), starting July 12. There will be occasional delays of about 10 to 15 minutes for both inbound and outbound traffic to and from the OSV beach. Hours of work may vary due to weather or traffic. Work will take place Monday-Thursday only and should be completed by Thursday, July 22.
The improvements are funded by OSV permit revenue and should result in a smoother process of entering the OSV area. The work will involve moving and replacing the entry-exit gates about 200 yards closer to the beach and paving the area from the current gates to the new gates with clay and clamshell, similar to the current South Ocean Beach parking lot. The limit of vehicles in the Maryland OSV zone will remain the same at 145.
In the summer season of 2020, the National Seashore saw an 81% increase to OSV Zone use from the average use over the last five years. This high level of use has continued during the spring and early summer this year. These improvements will enhance safety by keeping the entrance lines further away from the congested area around the South Beach parking lot and decreasing the interaction between the OSV lines and pedestrian and bicycle traffic. NPS officials urged patience during the project and vowed to keep wait times at a minimum.
OSV permits may be purchased at Toms Cove Visitor Center in Virginia and at the North Beach Visitor Contact Station in Maryland. For OSV permit information and current access conditions call 410-641-3030 For general information about the national seashore and park activities, access the park’s web site or call 410-641-1441.