Skip to main content

Baltimore-Washington Parkway

The Baltimore-Washington Parkway is a 32.52-mile limited access highway partially signed as Mary Route 295.  The Baltimore-Washington Parkway as the name infers connects the cities of Baltimore and Washington.  The Baltimore-Washington Parkway opened in stages between 1950 through 1954 and does not conform to Interstate standards.  The Baltimore-Washington Parkway between Baltimore south to Maryland Route 175 is maintained by the Maryland Department of Transportation.  From Maryland Route 175 south to US Route 50 the Baltimore-Washington Parkway is maintained by the National Park Service.  Featured as the blog cover is southbound Baltimore-Washington Parkway approaching the beginning of the National Park Service maintained segment south of Maryland Route 175.  


Part 1; the history of Baltimore-Washington Parkway

Plans for a parkway between the cities of Baltimore and Washington date back to the 1920s.  Future Maryland Governor Harry Nice during 1924 would actively campaign for a parkway connecting Baltimore and Washington to be constructed.  Increasing traffic on US Route 1 through the 1930s led to increased interest and momentum towards building a parkway between Baltimore and Washington.  

During 1942 the Bureau of Public Roads began the process of designing the layout of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.  Design plans on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway would ultimately be finalized by 1945.  The final scale of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway would connect from US Route 301 Alternate in Baltimore south to New York Avenue and the proposed Anacostia Freeway at the boundary of the District of Columbia.  

During 1947 construction of the northern segment of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway began.  Baltimore-Washington Parkway would be formally established by Congress by Public Law 81-643 on August 3, 1950, which formalize the onset of construction of the National Park Service maintained segment.  The state-maintained portion Baltimore-Washington Parkway between Hollins Ferry Road in Baltimore to Maryland Route 46 opened during December 1950.  The remaining portion of Baltimore-Washington Parkway opened during 1951 which was followed by the segment between Maryland Route 46 south to Maryland Route 175 opening during 1952.  The National Park Service segment of Baltimore-Washington Parkway from Maryland Route 175 south to New York Avenue opened during October 1954.  As originally opened the Maryland maintained segment was known as Baltimore-Washington Expressway whereas the National Park Service segment was known as Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

A series of November 1952 communications between the Maryland State Highway Engineer and the Bureau of Public Roads Executive Secretary conveyed a desire by the State of Maryland to sign Baltimore-Washington Parkway as US Route 1.  Given the then incomplete 19 miles of the National Park Service maintained Baltimore-Washington Parkway was not open to freight traffic a secondary suggestion regarding attempting to petition the American Association of State Highway Officials to assign it as US Route 1 Alternate is brought up.  No submission to add US Route 1 or US Route 1 Alternate to the American Association of State Highway Officials seemingly came of the communications.




The southern terminus of Baltimore-Parkway Expressway can be seen on the 1956 Gousha Highway Map of Washington, D.C.  


Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Baltimore-Washington Expressway can be seen connecting Baltimore and Washington on the 1956 Gousha Highway Map of Maryland



The northern terminus of Baltimore-Washington Expressway can be seen merging into US Route 301 Alternate on the 1956 Gousha Map of the Baltimore Area.  


During 1963 the Maryland State Road Commission, Bureau of Public Road and National Park Service attempted to transfer the Baltimore-Washington Parkway to Maryland.  These plans fell through due to the State of Maryland became reluctant to incur the cost of modernizing the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.  During 1968 the Maryland State Road Commission petitioned the have Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Baltimore-Washington Expressway added as chargeable Interstate 295.  The Federal Highway Administration approved Interstate 295 during 1969 but the addition was later withdrawn due to a lack of available funds to modernize Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Baltimore-Washington Expressway.  

During 1973 Baltimore-Washington Expressway between Monroe Street in Baltimore south to Interstate 695 was assigned as Maryland Route 3 and Mary Route 295 south from Interstate 695 to Maryland Route 175.  During 1975 the Baltimore-Washington Parkway was incorporated into the National Capitol Parks.  During 1981 the entirety of the State maintained Baltimore-Washington Expressway was reassigned as Maryland Route 295.  

The National Park Service and Federal Highway Administration began to modernize Baltimore-Washington Parkway.  The modernization of Baltimore-Washington Parkway would include the reconfiguration of numerous interchanges.  The planned redesign of Baltimore-Washington Parkway is featured in the February 1984 document titled "Baltimore-Washington Parkway design elements." 





























On May 9, 1991, the Baltimore-Washington Parkway was added to the National Register of Historic Places.  During 1990s the Baltimore-Washington Expressway assumed the name "Baltimore-Washington Parkway."   During 2002 the 1980s era National Park Service redesign of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway was completed upon the reconfiguration of the Maryland Route 197 interchange.  

Below the history of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway in the 1954-1999 era can be observed on a Historic American Engineering Record and National Park Service document.  


The Baltimore-Washington Parkway can be seen in detail featured on a Historic American Engineering Record and National Park Service document.  




Part 2; a drive on Baltimore-Washington Parkway

From Interstate 895 westbound Exit 4 traffic can access Baltimore-Washington Parkway/Maryland Route 295 southbound.


Baltimore-Washington Parkway/Maryland Route 295 southbound does not have exit numbers.  South of Interstate 895 Baltimore-Washington Parkway/Maryland Route 295 intersects Interstate 695. 





Baltimore-Washington Parkway/Maryland Route 295 southbound intersects Nursery Road followed by Interstate 195.  







From Interstate 195 a guide sign posts Washington as being 31 miles to the south along Baltimore-Washington Parkway/Maryland Route 295. 


Baltimore-Washington Parkway/Maryland Route 295 southbound intersects Maryland Route 100.





Baltimore-Washington Parkway/Maryland Route 295 southbound intersects Arundel Mills Road. 



Baltimore-Washington Parkway/Maryland Route 295 southbound intersects Maryland Route 175.





South of Maryland Route 175 maintenance of Baltimore-Washington Parkway transitions to National Park Service maintenance.  The National Park Service portion of Baltimore-Washington Parkway even has a large boundary sign similar to what would be seen at a normal National Park operating unit.  The National Park Service maintained portion of Baltimore-Washington Parkway is dedicated to Congresswoman Gladys Noon Spellman.  


Baltimore-Washington Parkway southbound accesses a non-public exit to the National Security Administration Technology Drive.  The immediate differences between the National Park Service maintained portion are immediately apparent with raised shoulders, brown guide signs and brick retaining walls. 



Baltimore-Washington Parkway southbound intersects Maryland Route 32. 




Baltimore-Washington Parkway southbound intersects Maryland Route 198.




Baltimore-Washington Parkway southbound intersects Maryland Route 197. 



Baltimore-Washington Parkway southbound intersects Powder Mills Road. 




Baltimore-Washington Parkway southbound intersects a closed exit to the Goddard Flight Center.


Baltimore-Washington Parkway southbound intersects Maryland Route 193 at Greenbelt Road. 





Baltimore-Washington Parkway southbound intersects Interstate 495/Interstate 95 at the Capital Beltway.



Baltimore-Washington Parkway southbound intersects Maryland Route 410.




Baltimore-Washington Parkway southbound intersects Maryland Route 450.  


Baltimore-Washington Parkway southbound intersects Maryland Route 202. 


Baltimore-Washington Parkway southbound terminates as it intersects US Route 50.  Traffic can follow Anacostia Freeway into the District of Columbia to reach Interstate 295 via District of Columbia 295.  Signage directs traffic to follow US Route 50 westbound to reach New York Avenue in the District of Columbia.  




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Sunshine Bridge (Donaldsonville, LA)

Located about halfway between Baton Rouge and New Orleans in southern Louisiana, the Sunshine Bridge spans the lower Mississippi River near the city of Donaldsonville as part of the longer Louisiana Highway 70 corridor, which connects Interstate 10 and Airline Highway (US 61) with US 90 in Morgan City. In the years following World War II, the only bridges across the lower Mississippi River in Louisiana were located in the area of the state’s two largest cities – Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Postwar agricultural and industrial development along the river in this region led to the planning of a series of infrastructure projects in southern Louisiana that were aimed at spurring this development and modernization of the Delta region. One of these projects was known as the Acadian Thruway and was developed in the 1950s as a toll road intended to connect greater New Orleans with Lafayette and points west while providing a high-speed bypass of the Baton Rouge metro area. The Thruway, which

Old River Lock & Control Structure (Lettsworth, LA)

  The Old River Control Structure (ORCS) and its connecting satellite facilities combine to form one of the most impressive flood control complexes in North America. Located along the west bank of the Mississippi River near the confluence with the Red River and Atchafalaya River nearby, this structure system was fundamentally made possible by the Flood Control Act of 1928 that was passed by the United States Congress in the aftermath of the Great Mississippi River Flood of 1927 however a second, less obvious motivation influenced the construction here. The Mississippi River’s channel has gradually elongated and meandered in the area over the centuries, creating new oxbows and sandbars that made navigation of the river challenging and time-consuming through the steamboat era of the 1800s. This treacherous area of the river known as “Turnbull’s Bend” was where the mouth of the Red River was located that the upriver end of the bend and the Atchafalaya River, then effectively an outflow

Huey P. Long Bridge (Baton Rouge, LA)

The decade of the 1930s brought unprecedented growth and development to Louisiana’s transportation infrastructure as the cities of New Orleans and Baton Rouge cemented their place as leading urban centers on the Gulf Coast. In the immediate aftermath of the success garnered by the construction of the massive bridge on the Mississippi River near New Orleans in 1935, planning and construction commenced on the state’s second bridge over the great river. This new bridge, located on the north side of Baton Rouge, was to be similar in design and form to its downriver predecessor. Completed in 1940 as the second bridge across the Mississippi River in Louisiana and the first to be built in the Baton Rouge area, this bridge is one of two bridges on the Mississippi named for Huey P. Long, a Louisiana politician who served as the 40th Governor of the State from 1928 to 1932, then as U.S. Senator from 1932 until his death by assassination at the state capitol in Baton Rouge on September 10, 1935