Truck carrying pineapples crashes at I-270 ramp on Outer Loop

A tractor-trailer carrying pineapples crashed on the Capital Beltway near Bethesda, Maryland. (Courtesy Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service)

A tractor-trailer carrying pineapples blocked some traffic following a crash on the Outer Loop of the Capital Beltway in Montgomery County, Maryland. It was one of several truck wrecks to occur on the same portion of the highway just this month.

Crews responded around 5:30 p.m. Thursday between Old Georgetown Road and River Road at the Interstate 270 spur sky ramp, known as “The Big Curve,” in the area of the Bradley Boulevard overpass near Bethesda.

A portion of the dislodged trailer was seen hanging off of the overpass.

A fuel spill also occurred, and a Montgomery County hazardous materials crew was called to the scene.

The back end of the truck was seen hanging from the ramp.

The impact of the collision to the concrete wall caused debris to rain down on the I-270 Spur. Authorities closed the spur to southbound traffic, diverting drivers onto Democracy Boulevard for several hours while cleanup took place.

The spur partially reopened around 9 p.m., but repairs to the bridge above the roadway continued well past midnight.

The WTOP traffic center has reported on at least seven crashes involving overturned or jackknifed trucks at this junction since mid-March. A similar crash happened last month, with concrete from that battered wall raining down on the spur below.

Last Monday, two major truck crashes occurred on the curve within 12 hours of one another.

Another tractor-trailer wreck resulted in a fuel spill and barrier damage late last summer.

In addition to those on the “Big Curve,” there have been several crashes involving trucks on the “smaller curve” of the Inner Loop near the I-270 Spur. On March 29, a truck reportedly hauling 78,000 pounds of frozen chicken overturned.

Last week, a vacuum truck, or vactor, overturned in the right lanes.

This has historically been a troublesome spot since the “circumferential highway” was built in the 1960s. Of all the twists and turns on the Beltway in Montgomery County, this is one of the worst for truck crashes.

Lower traffic volumes and higher speeds during the pandemic have made this junction’s deficiencies even more apparent.

Below is the area of the crash.

Dave Dildine

A native to the Washington area, Dave Dildine is no stranger to the region's complex traffic and weather patterns. Dave joined WTOP in 2010 when the station launched its very own in-house traffic service. You can hear him "on the 8s and when it breaks" from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays.

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

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