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Speed camera on Beltway generates huge number of tickets

Thousands of drivers zooming through the Suitland Road Bridge work zone area on the Capital Beltway in Prince George's County, Maryland, are getting caught by the speed cameras in place since last year. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

WASHINGTON — If you have plans to drive on the Capital Beltway through Prince George’s County, Maryland, you will want to be extra careful while traveling through one particular area that has become a speed camera hot spot.

Nearly 75,000 speed camera tickets were issued in the Suitland Road Bridge work zone during the last six months of 2017, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.

The work zone, which includes the Outer and Inner loops of the Beltway near Joint Base Andrews, has generated more than $3 million in fines.

“Year-in and year-out, speed cameras have proven to be an effective deterrent in combating speeding violations and curbing reckless behavior in work zones,” said AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman John Townsend.

From July through December, northbound drivers in the work zone were issued more than 47,000 tickets and more than 27,000 tickets went to southbound drivers.

Tickets are issued to those who drive 12 mph or more over the speed limit, which is 55 mph in Maryland work zones.

“There has been, on average, a 90 percent reduction of speeding 12 mph or more over the speed limit where automated speed deployment is present,” said spokeswoman Lora Rakowski with the Maryland State Highway Administration.

Currently, there are speed cameras in 10 work zones across the state.

“The overall goal is to alert and slow drivers as they pass through the work zone — as evidenced by the large colorful signs and digital speed display present,” Rakowski said. “This effectively prevents both speeding and the issuing of citations, and creates safer work zones for our workers, drivers and passengers.”

The Beltway project above Suitland Road, which includes the replacement of a pair of bridges, is expected to take three years to complete.

In 2015, a chunk of concrete fell from one of the bridges and smashed a car’s windshield. No one was hurt.

Following the incident, Maryland transportation officials ordered immediate inspections of two dozen bridges.


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