Improving visibility and driver safety on the Baltimore Washington Parkway

Baltimore Washington Parkway

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News Release Date: March 16, 2017

Contact: Ethan Alpern, 202-619-7186

WASHINGTON — The National Park Service (NPS) is removing hazardous trees and invasive plants to widen the clear zone along the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. A wider clear zone will improve road and environmental conditions and increase visibility and safety for drivers.
From March 19 to April 14, drivers should expect to see crews removing immature, invasive, or unhealthy, trees along the southbound lanes of the parkway from Powder Mill Road to U.S. Route 50.
The parkway, intended as a scenic and recreational gateway connecting Baltimore and Washington, has become one of the most heavily used roadways in the D.C.-Metro area. Like other major roadways, the parkway includes a clear zone, unobstructed land along the travel lanes, which allows drivers to stop safely or regain control of the vehicle . Currently vegetation is encroaching on the parkway’s clear zone, leaving less area for drivers to pull over in an emergency.
“The major reason to remove vegetation and unhealthy trees is driver safety,” Matthew Carroll, superintendent of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, said. “An added benefit is that removing non-native invasive plants such as white mulberry improves the environmental condition of national parkland.”
This is the first of many steps to return the parkway to its original design, to provide a transportation corridor that blends natural topography, cultural landscapes and scenic forest.
Studies have documented traffic safety issues on the parkway, and removing vegetation and other obstructions from the roadway was recommended in the Baltimore-Washington Parkway Traffic Safety Plan.
About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 417 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at, on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube

Last updated: May 30, 2017

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