MARYLAND (WBFF) The National Park Service has announced that starting on Saturday, it will lower the speed limit on the Baltimore Washington Parkway to 40 miles per hour between Maryland State Routes 197 and 32.
Officials say that they are making this change to calm traffic and make it easier for drivers to react to poor road conditions. Superintendent Matt Carroll says, “We need drivers to slow down. Reducing your speed will make it safer for you and for the crews working every day to address current road conditions.”
Drivers should expect an increased presence of U.S. Park Police officers in the area this weekend. Superintendent Carroll goes on to say that “We know this is a frustrating situation for drivers who rely on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. Since the end of January, National Park Service crews have placed over 60 tons of specialized asphalt to patch potholes on the parkway, and crews continue to patch potholes daily as weather conditions allow.”
Despite these efforts, officials say that conditions on the road have continued to get worse, particularly through last month. A long planned project to repave the parkway from MD 197 to 198 is set to begin in fall 2019. However, the N.P.S. is investigating short term solutions and they are also working with the Federal Highway Administration to accelerate the construction schedule.
The repaving project is part of a multi-year, multi-phase effort to repave all 18 miles of the Baltimore Washington Parkway. For eight years, the N.P.S. has repaved the road from the D.C. boundary at New York Avenue, north to the Patuxent River Bridge near the MD 197 interchange.
The final phase is set for completion in 2021. Roadways across the national capital region have developed extensive pothole hazards due to record amounts of precipitation in 2018, followed by multiple freeze thaw cycles this winter, and the difficulty of keeping patches on roads during snow plowing operations.
Officials say that all of these factors have contributed to the deterioration of driving conditions throughout the Greater Washington area.