Beltway

Beltway Surface Abrasion Underway to Prevent Accidents, Speeding

When you drive across the roughed up lanes, it almost feels like your wheels stick to it. ”I know I grip the wheel tighter," local driver Melissa Brady said

Chopper 4, WRC-TV

After a number of serious accidents on a dangerous stretch of the Capital Beltway in Montgomery County in recent months, highway officials have made changes to the road surface – scuffing it up, on purpose

The idea is to try to make drivers slow down. But is it working?

Chopper 4 showed a great view of what’s happening along the Beltway – the lighter grey color of the road indicates where the road has been roughed up intentionally with what’s known as friction surface abrasion treatment. The darker gray lanes to the right remain untouched.

Capital Beltway in Montgomery County, Photo: Chopper 4, WRC-TV

The lane markings are also still visible. They haven’t gotten the treatment because the markings need to be preserved.

When you drive across the roughed up lanes, it almost feels like your wheels stick to it.

”I know I grip the wheel tighter," local driver Melissa Brady said. "My son is terrified to drive through there.”

But Brady says it’s time for a safety change, even if it means rougher pavement. 

"There’s a lot of accidents that happen there – people that are speeding, tailgating other cars and they get themselves into trouble," she said.

The Maryland Department of Transportation will begin using a technique called friction abrasion on the Beltway to try to slow down drivers. Transportation Reporter Adam Tuss explains.

The Maryland State Highway Administration (MdSHA) says they are about 40 percent done with the work between Bradley Boulevard and Connecticut Avenue and that they'll need about 10 more nights of work to fully complete this project, but the safety benefits will follow.

"It’ll make it easier for vehicle to stop during crashes," said Shantee Felix of the Maryland Department of Transportation. "And it will also reduce hydroplaning."

Expect more overnight lane closures starting at 7 p.m. every night.

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