The Worcester County Commissioners on Tuesday approved Sheriff Matt Crisafulli’s request to designate various state rights-of-way in the county as “special event zones” from Sept. 21 to Sept. 26, when the unofficial pop-up car rally is expected to descend upon Ocean City.
The approval means that certain areas of Routes 13, 50, 113, 376, 589 and 611 will be operating under tighter laws with increased enforcement, should thousands of modified foreign cars show up in the area as they have in the past.
Commissioner President Joe Mitrecic clarified what the ruling meant since Crisafulli’s public request could be construed as saying speed limits would be reduced for the entire county.
“It will not change the speed limits throughout the county,” Mitrecic said. “Ocean City is the only municipality or area that’s allowed to reduce their speed limits during these special events. It just gives the county and sheriff’s department a little more latitude to deal with egregious issues and reckless driving throughout the county.”
Known erroneously as H2Oi, which is a legitimate event now held in Atlantic City, the vehicular swarm of small tuner cars has earned plenty of detractors over the years. The reckless behavior of many of the drivers, who were not actual participants in H20i, which was restricted to water-cooled German cars, is mostly what prompted the H20i International car show to relocate in 2018.
Despite the move, the louder, rowdier element that came to the resort at the same time as the original event has continued to come to Ocean City, not even stopping during the covid-19 pandemic last year.
No official start and end for the rally are set, but it’s expected to go over the weekend of Sept. 24-26.