BALTIMORE (WJZ) — New signs are being installed after a deadly string of wrong-way crashes on Route 50 and I-97 in Maryland.
In 2017, four people died in wrong-way crashes on Route 50. The state hopes new signs will prevent another tragedy.
The Maryland State Highway Administration is trying to grab drivers’ attention with even more warnings on top of existing signs. The change comes after three separate wrong-way crashes that killed five people last year.
“These incidents are not common place, they’re one-offs. Not everyone is driving the wrong way on the highway, but even one incident is too much for us,” says John Schofield, deputy director of communications for MDOT SHA.
In one case, officials say Laura Ashley Murphy drove more than two miles down the wrong way. That led to a head-on collision where Murphy and another driver died.
In the following weeks, there were three more fatalities in wrong-way crashes. Police say one of those drivers’ blood alcohol level was more than four times the legal limit.
After those crashes, State Highway Administration investigation concluded there were no problems with the lighting or signage along route 50. But the administration has identified 22 locations that could benefit from even more signs.
“In this particular case, we figured that we could put more signs up and at least keep people from making that mistake of getting on the highway the wrong way,” Schofield said.
The agency also said new, flashing LED lights and additional markings on the roads could come later this year.
State highway officials say the process to add more warning signs started after the first fatal wrong-way crash of last year.