Baltimore Beltway 695
The 53 mile Baltimore Beltway (Route 695), which encircles the city of Baltimore, Maryland, is one of Maryland busiest highways, second only to Interstate 95. Incredibly, over 500,000 cars, trucks and motorcycles travel the Baltimore Beltway every day. Although the Baltimore Beltway is part of the interstate system, about 85 percent of the cars and trucks on it are driven by Maryland drivers. Without traffic, you can drive the full 53 miles stretch in less than an hour. With traffic, good luck.
History of the Baltimore Beltway
The Baltimore Beltway was the completed
in 1962. It was the first beltway completed in the National System
of Interstate and Defense Highways, the brainchild of President
Dwight D. Eisenhower's who fought vigorously for the enactment
of the 1956 Federal Highway Act. This Act provided 90% of the
funding for the Baltimore Beltway, although the original plan
extended back to 1949 when Baltimore
County planned the construction to connect such burgeoning
communities as Towson, Essex, Timonium, Linthicum, Dundalk, Catonsville,
Pikesville, Cockeysville, Randallstown, and Parkville. Fortunately,
federal funding allowed Baltimore County to do that and much more.
At the Baltimore Beltway's completion in July, 1962, it ran from Gov. Ritchie Highway (MD Route 2) in Glen Burnie in Anne Arundel County three quarters of the way around Baltimore to Pulaski highway (US Route 40). The Baltimore Beltway was completed in 1977, with the completion of the Outer Harbor Crossing, an 11-mile-long toll road from MD Route 10 to MD Route 151.
There are both four lane, three lane and two lane sections of the Beltway. Our personal injury accident attorneys believe there are more car and truck accidents on the four-lane sections, probably because these portions of the Baltimore Beltway are more trafficked and because there are more cars entering and exiting the Beltway on those sections. A large number of Baltimore Beltway accidents are caused in the transition in lanes - cars and trucks weaving back and forth as the number of lanes increase or decrease.
Maryland continues to tweak the Baltimore Beltway, primarily to add greater lane capacity. In the earlier part of the decade, great effort was made to build bridges over the highway to accommodate a widening near Towson. In late 2005, the Ehrlich administration announced the start of a $5.3 million project for a new US Route 40 interchange at the Baltimore Beltway in the Catonsville area of Baltimore County which has been identified by USA Today as one of the most difficult traffic bottlenecks in the country. This is expected to be completed by the summer of 2006. Of course, state construction seems to be completed on time... let's just say infrequently.
Accidents on the 695
The Baltimore Beltway is notorious for rear end truck accidents, primarily because of all of the stopping and starting in traffic, particularly around construction zones which seem ever present. There are no truck lane controls on the Baltimore Beltway because, Maryland transportation officials say, there is no section of the Beltway where the grades are so steep that truck lanes are needed and because such restrictions would put all the slow-moving heavy truck traffic on the right lanes of the Beltway, making it difficult to get through the slow moving cars and trucks to get to the exits. So what you have is a lot of trucks stopping and starting all over the Baltimore Beltway. Fortunately, the rear end accidents do not typically cause fatalities or serious injuries as with other Baltimore Beltway accidents, but this is no consolation to those who suffer injuries and property damage as many do each and every day on this highway.
Maryland Appellate Opinions Involving Baltimore Beltway Accidents
There have been a number of reported
cases in the Maryland appellate courts involving auto accidents
and truck accidents on the Baltimore Beltway. Esposito
v. Maryland Auto. Ins. Fund, 274 Md. 708 (1974), involved
a tragic case of a 13 year-old boy was a passenger in a car driven
by his father on the Baltimore Beltway near the Milford Mill Road
underpass. The vehicle suddenly veered to the right and traveled
off the roadway nearly 116 feet along the shoulder before crashing
sideways into the guardrail. A part of the reason the automobile
came to a halt where it did was that a portion of the guardrail
pierced through the body of the car, impaling and fatally killing
the boy's father and severing one of the boy's legs. Before he
died, the father claimed he was forced off the road by a phantom
car. A personal injury attorney in Baltimore, Maryland brought a claim in
Baltimore County Circuit Court on behalf of the deceased man's
estate and the boy against the Maryland Automoblie Insurance Fund
(MAIF). The trial court found that the plaintiff's accident lawyers
did not make "all reasonable efforts" to locate the
phantom vehicle. In affirming the decision, the Court
of Appeals of Maryland found that the attorneys were required
to use the same efforts one would expect an injured party to exert
if he knew there would be no recovery unless he actually located
the driver. In this case, there was no evidence proffered that
the accident attorneys for the plaintiff did anything that they
could have done if they wanted to perform an investigation as
to who caused the car wreck, such as interviewing police officers,
hospital personnel or other investigative work.