Construction on Beltway troubles students and staff

Oct. 26, 2001, midnight | By Nora Toiv | 21 years, 1 month ago

Beltway construction between the Georgia Ave. and Colesville Rd. on-ramps, which should be finished by late 2001, is dangerous according to Blair students and teachers alike.

The beltway causes Blair teacher Lansing Freeman to be concerned for new drivers. ”When you compound the problem by adding the variables of driver inexperience and road construction, it really makes me worry about my students,” he said.

History teacher Patricia Anderson, said that in the last weeks she has seen four accidents on the Georgia Ave and Colesville Rd entrance ramps. Anderson thinks that everyone should be ”extra careful” when entering the beltway and that drivers ”can't just careen and go.” Anderson offered advice to students who take the beltway. ”Don't treat [the no merge] as yield, treat it as a stop,” she said.

Junior Megan Mathews hates the quick merge. ”Entering the beltway is really scary because you have about 500 feet, and you have to stop and wait for someone to let you in,” Mathews said.

The beltway does not bother senior Michelle Williams. ”It's not that bad,” she said, ”Unless there is heavy traffic.” Even if there is not heavy traffic some Blair teachers think that students should not be using the beltway.

Some teachers think that the beltway is too dangerous for inexperienced drivers under any circumstances. Blair teacher Vito Vergari said, ”No student should take the beltway.” Vergari thinks that students should use other roads to avoid the Beltway. ”[Students] should learn how to read a map,” commented Vergari.

Anderson, on the other hand, thinks students are ”perfectly capable of handling [the beltway],” but that driving on the beltway is always a risk.

People all over the Washington area have had to struggle with a split on the inner and outer loops of the beltway, causing a mass amount of traffic and delays. In addition to the lane split there is no merge lane when entering from the Georgia Ave or Colesville Rd on-ramps. According to the Maryland State Highway Association, the reason for the split and lack of merge area is the replacement of deteriorating bridges in between Georgia Ave and Colesville Rd.

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