Speed limits to be lowered on Baltimore-Washington Parkway starting Saturday

Starting Saturday, a new, lower speed limit will be enforced on a busy highway due to several potholes.
Drivers in the DMV are familiar with countless potholes that mar the Baltimore-Washington Parkway - and it's a problem the National Park Service is familiar with too.

The conditions along the roadway have been bad for some time now.

In fact, according to the National Park Service, no capacity improvements have been made on the Parkway since its construction in 1954.

And the lack of improvements are taking a toll - with an average of six fatalities and 547 crashes a year, the B-W Parkway is one of the most dangerous roads in the area.

The National Park Service is not taking measures to curb the problem.

Starting on Saturday, the speed limit will be lowered from 55 miles per hour to 40 between Maryland State Routes 197 and 32.

The National Park Service says the change will help drivers react to the poor road conditions, while making it safer for the crews that will be working on the road.

But AAA representatives say the slower speed limit may actually make driving conditions even more dangerous.

"If speed limits are artificially too low then people will not obey those speed limits and they will increase their speed to compensate for lost time being stuck in stalling traffic and you create greater unsafe conditions. They should find a window of opportunity and a window of time to repair those potholes in broad daylight when it's safe for everyone," said John Townsend of AAA.

A long-planned project to repave 18 miles of the Parkway is scheduled to begin this fall.

The project is slated for completion in 2021.

In the meantime, an increased presence of U.S. Park Police officers will accompany the new speed limit.