Washington DC

Chevy Chase Traffic Circle Gets Safety Makeover

“This design will hopefully make things better. They can’t make things worse”

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A notoriously dangerous traffic circle is getting a safety makeover.

The Chevy Chase Circle on the D.C.-Maryland line is likely one of the most confusing traffic circles in the area — and that's saying something.

"There’s been no level of understanding by most drivers,” Chevy Chase Village Police Chief John Fitzgerald said.

Thousands of commuters, travelers and tourists come through the circle positioned between the Beltway and downtown D.C.

But until now, it's been a bit like the Wild, Wild West.

"It’s a free-for-all. And it's designed for collisions, and we have plenty of those,” Fitzgerald said.

Even as News4 interviewed Fitzgerald, a motorcycle cut right through traffic behind him.

The traffic circle has seen well over 100 crashes in recent years, authorities say.


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On Monday, the D.C. Department of Transportation and Maryland crews worked to re-stripe the circle and enlighten drivers on the rules so there’s more order.

“We’ll be adding new signage that makes it clear where drivers should and should not enter and exit the circle,” said Jeff Marootian, the head of DDOT.

The biggest change is that if drivers want to continue around the circle, they can only do that from the inner-most lane.

All lanes can still leave the circle, so drivers don't have to merge into a different lane to exit. The design is meant to eliminate drivers from cutting one another off.

“This design will hopefully make things better. They can’t make things worse,” Fitzgerald said.

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