Beltway

MDOT to Make Beltway Rougher to Prevent Speeding, Crashes

A technique called friction abrasion will be used to try to slow down drivers

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Drivers may start noticing a rougher ride on the Capital Beltway in Montgomery County soon. 

Since the start of the pandemic, fewer cars and more space to travel faster have led to crashes. Signs over the roads remind people about speed, but the Maryland Department of Transportation is taking further action.

MDOT will begin altering the pavement using a technique called friction abrasion. The technique involves striking the ground with metal spheres at high speed, making dimples and divots that create an uneven surface to grip tires, slow down cars and hopefully prevent crashes. 

"It will help vehicles slow down in bad weather and reduces hydroplaning," said Shantee Felix of MDOT. "Studies have shown that this has reduced crashes by about 70%."

Only a handful of companies in the country can do this work, which starts Monday with overnight closures.

“Speed limits still apply no matter what time of day or day of the week, and they are there for a reason,” said Pete Piringer, Montgomery Fire and Rescue spokesman.

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