WASHINGTON — Effective Saturday, March 2, the National Park Service (NPS) will lower the speed limit on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway to 40 miles per hour between Maryland State Routes 197 and 32. The NPS is making this change to calm traffic and make it easier for drivers to react to poor road conditions.
“We need drivers to slow down,” Superintendent Matt Carroll said. “Reducing your speed will make it safer for you and for the crews working every day to address current road conditions.”
The NPS made the decision to reduce the speed limit following consultation with US Park Police traffic safety specialists. Drivers should expect an increased presence of US Park Police officers in the area.
“We know this is a frustrating situation for drivers who rely on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway,” Superintendent Carroll said. “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, conditions on the road have continued to deteriorate, particularly throughout February.
A long-planned project to repave the parkway from MD 197 to 198 is scheduled to begin in fall 2019. However, the NPS is investigating short-term solutions and also working with the Federal Highway Administration to accelerate the construction schedule. This repaving project is part of a multi-year, multi-phase effort to repave all 18 miles of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. Since 2011, the NPS has repaved the road from the District of Columbia boundary at New York Avenue, north to the Patuxent River Bridge near the MD 197 interchange. The final phase is scheduled 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. All of these factors have contributed to the deterioration of driving conditions through the Greater Washington area.