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Officials try to improve BW Parkway as drivers dodge damaging potholes

This is a WTOP file photo of the BW Parkway or Baltimore-Washington Parkway. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

It does’t take long for drivers on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway to come across massive potholes that could cause serious damage to their vehicle. And speeding along the uneven roadway could also put others in danger.

According to the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, 1 in 4 crashes along the BW Parkway results in injury or death. And, according to AAA, since 2006, there have been 547 crashes each year, making it one of the most dangerous roads in the D.C. area.

“It’s really bad. You have over 120,000 vehicles on the roadway per a day; there’s very little margin for error,” said John Townsend with AAA.

To promote safe driving, the National Park Service has lowered the speed limit from 55 mph to 40 mph on a stretch of the roadway. The goal is to calm traffic and make it easier for drivers to react to poor road conditions as crews continue to repair the pothole hot spots.

So far, 60 tons of asphalt has already been put down along that stretch.

For drivers dealing with vehicle damage caused by a pothole on a road owned by the National Park Service, filing a claim may prove difficult. But AAA encourages motorists to exercise their legal rights and submit a claim against the federal, state or local government for any damages.

According to AAA, though the damage to tires may not be immediately apparent, drivers should still check tires for blisters.

Keep tires properly inflated during pothole season and repair events. Driving at posted speeds and staying alert is always the first and best line of defense to avoid vehicle damage or injury to others.

WTOP’s Melissa Howell reported from Silver Spring, Maryland.

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