Outer Loop reopens 6 hours after tractor-trailer overturns at notorious ‘big curve’

A tractor-trailer overturned at the notorious “big curve” on the Capital Beltway in Montgomery County, Maryland on Wednesday night, shutting the Outer Loop of the highway down for nearly six hours.

Closures due to clean-up lasted until the roadway was cleared. All lanes reopened to traffic at 3:35 a.m., WTOP’s Rich Hunter reported.

Traffic snarled Wednesday night with some lanes blocked, as a result of the crash that happened on the sky ramp over Interstate 270 Spur between Old Georgetown Road and River Road at approximately 9:40 p.m.

The single-vehicle tractor-trailer jackknifed, crashing through the barrier. Parts of the vehicle could be seen hanging off the sky ramp. The vehicle was carrying a cargo of cabinets.

The driver refused medical treatment at the scene, according to Maryland State Police.

No other injuries or vehicles were involved in the crash, police said.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service spokesman Pete Piringer said there was a fuel spill.

The section of the Capital Beltway in Bethesda has been a scene of many crashes, especially during rainy weather, such as Wednesday night.

According to WTOP traffic records, there have been at least 22 crashes involving tractor trailers at the “Big Curve” on the Outer Loop since the beginning of the year. That’s an average of about one every 10 days so for the year and about one per week since the beginning of the pandemic.

There have been some days that have featured back-to-back truck wrecks.

Most of the crashes happened in the rain and involved fuel spills. Some of them damaged and punctured the concrete wall, but none were as dramatic as Wednesday’s incident, with half a truck plunging off the bridge.

The “big curve” crash was one of several Wednesday night.

Two people died in a crash at Muddy Branch Road and West Deer Park Road about 6:30 p.m. Three others were seriously injured.

Property damage resulted from a multicar crash between University Boulevard and Colesville Road, and elsewhere, a car hit a tree and caught fire at Bradley Boulevard near River Road.

An overturned tractor-trailer on the “Big Curve” on Sept. 9, 2020.

tractor trailer
A tractor-trailer has overturned on the Capital Beltway between Old Georgetown Road and River Road in Montgomery County.

tractor trailer
A tractor-trailer has overturned on the Capital Beltway between Old Georgetown Road and River Road in Montgomery County.

tractor trailer
The tractor-trailer had a cargo of cabinets.

Tractor trailer
This section of the Capital Beltway has been the scene of many crashes.

tractor trailer
tractor trailer
tractor trailer
Tractor trailer

WTOP’s Dave Dildine and Rich Hunter contributed to this report.

Matt Small

Matt joined WTOP News at the start of 2020, after contributing to Washington’s top news outlet as an Associated Press journalist for nearly 18 years.

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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