Enhancements at Site of Fatal CrashMarch 14, 2016
A tragic car accident at a notorious Bethesda intersection recently left three family members dead and one in critical condition. While the exact cause of the accident is under investigation, neighbors who live near the intersection have spent years contacting the State Highway Administration (SHA) requesting improved safety measures at that intersection, only to be ignored. The recent fatal wreck has drawn renewed attention to the safety of this intersection and whether additional safety measures are needed.
According to one resident who lives close to the intersection, nearby residents have been warning the SHA for over ten years. Complaints included that a fatal car accident would eventually happen if steps were not taken to improve the level of safety at the intersection at River Road and Pyle Road in Bethesda. Residents have said that motorists often drive through the intersection, over the crest of a hill, faster than the 45 mph speed limit.
According to highway officials, they have taken steps to improve the safety at the intersection including adding pavement markings for turns, restricting certain driving patterns at specified times of the day, and added street lights at the intersection. They also explained their reasoning for their previous decision not to install a traffic light at the intersection. They found that there was a heavy volume of left turns from River Road onto Braeburn Parkway for a short window of time in the morning when drivers are entering the high school. Other than that, traffic at this intersection was relatively light.
The exact cause of the crash is still under investigation, and a full report will likely be available in the next few weeks. The SHA will continue to review the facts surrounding the car accident and conduct a thorough analysis of the safety of the intersection to determine whether additional safety enhancements are necessary.
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