BALTIMORE — Six construction workers were killed and a driver was hospitalized Wednesday afternoon in a collision on the west side of Interstate 695 that closed the beltway both ways for hours and snarled traffic, according to Maryland State Police.
A gray Acura entered a construction zone in the inner loop in Woodlawn, struck workers and overturned, police said. The driver of the Acura was taken by ambulance to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore for treatment. The driver’s condition and identity were not available Wednesday evening, police said.
The identities of the six construction workers who died won’t be released until next of kin are notified, police said.
Police said the Acura drove through temporary jersey barriers and into the construction zone around 12:40 p.m. on I-695 just north of I-70 and Security Boulevard and south of Liberty Road.
Maryland State Police say investigators believe a second vehicle may have been involved in the crash. A spokesperson declined to say how the second vehicle could have been involved, and noted they are still investigating the matter.
The collision on the inner loop led police to close both directions of the Baltimore Beltway between Liberty Road and Security Boulevard for several hours, causing significant traffic backups. The beltway was fully reopened by 6:45 p.m.
The Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration declined to comment on what construction work was being done Wednesday.
The state has begun work in the area on what it calls the Triple Bridges Project to address traffic congestion where the beltway, or I-695, meets I-70. Built in the 1960s, the interchange handles far more traffic than it was designed for, according to a state Web page on the project.
Another project that started in 2021 aims to address congestion along I-695 from I-70 to Maryland 43 in White Marsh. Designed to optimize the highway’s capacity and reduce congestion, that project includes convert portions of the existing median shoulder to a travel lane during the morning and evening rush hours, according to that project’s state web page.
Calling the incident “horrific,” Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. offered “sincere condolences to the families, friends, and loved ones of those who have lost their lives in today’s tragic crash.”
Maryland Gov. Wes Moore tweeted that his “heart goes out to the victims and the families affected by the tragic crash on the 695 beltway this afternoon.”
The collision affected school dismissal. The Baltimore County Public School System said it prepared for significant traffic delays.
“We will work as quickly as possible to transport students safely this afternoon,” the school system tweeted.
State police asked anyone with information on the accident to call 410-780-2700.