Maryland State Police crack down to curb crashes on Capital Beltway’s ‘Big Curve’

Since mid-March, WTOP Traffic has reported on more than 12 crashes involving commercial trucks on one section of the Capital Beltway.

It’s a stretch known as the “Big Curve,” and it’s where the Outer Loop goes above Interstate 270, just west of old Georgetown Road.

“Tractor-trailers are just not handling that curve very well lately. We know one of the reasons is because of speed, but the lack of volume is allowing for that,” WTOP Traffic Reporter Dave Dildine said.

In response to an uptick in crashes, Maryland State Police kicked up enforcement in the area, looking out for truck drivers not obeying the rules of the road.

From May 4 to May 6, more than two dozen troopers kept an eye out for dangerous driving in an operation called “Operation 495/Green Tree Road Part 3.”

The goal was to reduce crashes, especially those involving tractor trailers, as well as to enforce the speed limit in that area, a Maryland State Police news release said.

The result — 149 tickets went out, 71 of them went to people who were speeding.

Some of the drivers who were pulled over included those driving dangerously around commercial vehicles.

Warnings went out to 213 other drivers.

The department also had truck inspectors and cadets inspect 251 commercial vehicles.

As a result 25 trucks were taken out of service, and 18 drivers were removed from the road for various violations.

One driver was arrested on a warrant and another was charged on a civil citation for allegedly having marijuana, Maryland State Police said.

Dildine said enforcement is important in curbing the number of crashes but there is more that needs to be addressed when it comes to this stretch of the Capital Beltway.

“It’s going to take a serious hard look about the adequacy of signage leading up to the big curve and also road design ultimately, the design of that curve that turn is one of the culprits here,” Dildine said.

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Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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