A tractor-trailer that overturned spilling potatoes and onions on the side of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway shut down the part of the southbound parkway in Cheverly, Maryland, early Friday not far from the split with U.S. 50.
The closure disrupted the morning commute for thousands who take the parkway
And it took nearly seven hours to reopen all of the lanes after the tractor-trailer overturned around 1:30 a.m.
At first, drivers were stuck in the backup behind the crash, then around 3:30 a.m., traffic was diverted to Maryland Route 202. Around 7:30 a.m., traffic was then diverted to New York Avenue.
Much of the cleanup involved removing the produce that spilled and emptying the truck.
The driver of that tractor-trailer should never have been on the parkway, said U.S. Park Police Sgt. Thomas Twiname.
Commercial vehicles are not allowed on National Park Service roadways, including the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, the Suitland Parkway, the George Washington Memorial Parkway and the Rock Creek Parkway.
“We really need drivers, especially the commercial vehicle drivers and commercial vehicle drivers, that are not maybe familiar with the Washington metropolitan area to know they need to be familiar with their routes. They can’t just trust or follow their GPS because, unfortunately, the GPS a lot of times will put them on the park service roadways, where they’re prohibited,” said Twiname.
The driver of the tractor-trailer sustained minor injuries, according to Sgt. Adam Zielinski.
Twiname said the driver will be cited for driving a commercial vehicle on the parkway.
WTOP’s Nick Iannelli reported from Cheverly.