Outer loop reopened in College Park, delays easing

This post was updated at 10:30 a.m.

The Capital Beltway’s outer loop has fully reopened near the I-95 split in College Park and delays have begun easing on the Beltway and other roads in the area following a fatal accident early Wednesday morning.

The crash, which involved two cars and a tractor truck with no trailer attached, occurred shortly before 5:20 a.m. 

One person died as a result of the accident, though no information was available regarding this person’s name or age, said Sgt. Darryl Clark of the Maryland State Police. This person was driving one of the cars involved, he said.

There were no other injuries stemming from the crash, Clark said. The accident is still under investigation. 

Traffic was forced to squeeze by on the left shoulder for much of the morning. The right lane reopened shortly before 8 a.m. and all lanes but one reopened shortly before 9:30 a.m. The right lane, the last lane still blocked, reopened by 9:50 a.m. 

But even as most lanes had reopened, the outer loop delays stretched all the way back to Central Avenue, with massive gridlock spanning nearly 15 miles, said David Buck, a spokesman for the Maryland State Highway Administration. 

I-95 South and the southbound Baltimore-Washington Parkway are also severely backed up from Laurel on down to the Beltway. Buck warned that even the northbound B.W. Parkway was slowing down as drivers attempt to move away from the Beltway and cut over to different roads. 

In addition, heavy congestion was a problem on southbound Route 29, University Boulevard/Greenbelt Road and East-West Highway, as many drivers sought refuge on those routes as well. 

The delays began abating on the Beltway, I-95 and the B.W. Parkway shortly after 10 a.m. 

This post has been updated.

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.

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Mark Berman · October 31, 2012