***CORRECTION*** 7/19/17 – 10:30am – The original version of this story reported the new Beltway speed cameras were the first on I-495 in Maryland. That was indeed what was reported to WMAL by the Maryland State Highway Administration. The state has since corrected itself. The first Maryland Beltway speed cameras were put in place at a Beltway construction zone at Northwest Branch in Montgomery County. WMAL regrets the error.
FORESTVILLE, MD (WMAL) — Today July 17, 2017 speed cameras will be activated on the Capital Beltway – kicking off a 21 day period of warnings before real tickets are issued.
The cameras, according to MDOT spokesman Charlie Gischlar, will be in a work-zone near Suitland Road – in the southeast corner of the Beltway – as a safety measure during a bridge replacement project.
They will automatically cite any driver who goes more than 12 miles-per-hour over the posted speed limit, the standard for speeding in Maryland.
Between today and August 7th, if one of the cameras catches you speeding you will receive a warning in the mail, according to Gischlar.
After August 7th a ticket will cost you $40.
You could be cited “anywhere from Auth Rd. to just south of Suitland Rd – anywhere within the project limits,” according to Gischlar.
And these cameras will stay on for a while.
According to Gischlar, “The project itself is going to be around for 3 years. In that whole time until that project is finished there could be speed cameras at that location during construction.”
Gischlar, however, insists that cameras are necessary to provide safety to MDOT contractors in a “tight work zone.”
“There’s going to be people that want to go fast there – we’re telling people in general, ‘don’t do that anyway’ – obey all the basic rules of the road,” Gischlar said.
He cites a recent incident where, “we had three crashes in one work-zone in one night on the Baltimore Beltway.” He also added that in one of those cases a contractor for MDOT was struck.
This work area may be small – about a mile long – yet represents the first usage of speed cameras on the intensely-trafficked Beltway.
No other plans currently exist to place cameras on other parts of the Beltway – whether these cameras become more commonplace in the D.C. area remains to be seen.
For now, drivers will only have to worry about automated tickets in one small workzone in the Beltway, where they ostensibly ought to be driving slower anyway.