The bridge was opened in March 1977 and is named for the author of the Star Spangled Banner, Francis Scott Key. The bridge is the outermost of three toll crossings of Baltimore’s Harbor. The bridge's traffic problem is notorious; among some, it's known as the Car Strangled Spanner. Upon completion, the bridge structure and its approaches became the final links in Interstate 695 (the Baltimore Beltway). Despite the I-695 signage, the bridge is officially considered part of Maryland Route 695.
The span is long and carries an estimated 11.5 million vehicles annually. This bridge is a designated hazardous materials truck route, as HAZMATs are prohibited in the two tunnels.
The Key Bridge is a toll facility operated by the Maryland Transportation Authority. The current toll rate for cars is $2.00. The bridge is also part of the E-ZPass system, and includes two dedicated E-ZPass lanes in its toll plaza in both the northbound and southbound directions.