ASSATEAGUE — In the wake of the most recent collision between a vehicle and a wild horse, the Assateague Island National Seashore officials announced on Friday speed limit reductions have been posted on the bridge leading to the barrier island and along the most frequented roadways near the entrance.
On Wednesday, Aug. 15, Adrianna’s Yankee Prince, who had been struck by a vehicle a little over a week earlier along the Route 611 causeway, was reported down in the marsh and unable to stand and had to be humanely euthanized. Adrianna’s Yankee Prince showed signs of recovery following the collision and was standing and foraging on its own, but took a turn for the worse a week later and had to be put down.
On Friday, Assateague Island National Seashore officials announced the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (SHA) has established lower speed limits and posted signs on the Route 611 approaches to the barrier island. The new reduced speed limit on the Verrazano Bridge is 30 mph, while the speed limit on Route 611 to Bayberry Drive has been further reduced to 25 mph.
The westbound traffic lanes in that area also have corresponding speed limit reductions. The speed limit on Bayberry Drive will also be reduced to 25 mph as soon as the new signs arrive next week.
“The Highway 611 causeway on Assateague can often be congested with slow-moving vehicles, pedestrians and free-ranging horses,” a statement from Assateague Island National Seashore reads. “The reduced speed limits and other traffic control measures should improve the safety of park visitors and wildlife on this section of roadway. Over the past 25 years, motor vehicle collisions have killed 13 horses on the Route 611 causeway.”
It’s important to note speed was not a determining factor in the collision that ultimately claimed Adrianna’s Yankee Prince and no charges were filed. Rather, it was deemed an unfortunate accident. However, with 13 deaths in 25 years attributed to vehicle collisions along the Route 611 causeway, speed limit reductions in that area can only improve the safety for the horses and the visitors to the island.