Luke, Maryland: Deadly Curve of Crosses

White crosses are painted on a cement retaining wall where 24 people, mostly truckers, have lost their lives by slamming into it. The wall was built in 1956 at the 90 degree turn at the bottom of Highway 135's 4-mile descent from Backbone Mountain

Address:
Hwy 135, Luke, MD
Directions:
On the north side of Hwy 135 just after it crosses the Savage River and turns sharply east. On the border between the towns of Luke and Bloomington, a couple hundred feet west of Hwy 135's intersection with Hwy 46. It's obviously a dangerous spot, so be careful.
Admission:
Free
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Deadly Curve of Crosses.

Roadside Crosses

Twenty-four white crosses are painted on a cement retaining wall on Hwy 135 where the road takes a sharp, 90-degree turn. It's at the bottom of a long, steep hill as the road descends from Backbone Mountain, one of Maryland's highest. One cross is for each person who died at the rocky base of the hill at the end of the highway's dangerous downhill run. The state eventually mandated a 10 mph truck speed limit down the hill, with multiple mandatory stops for brake checks, and a runaway ramp.

On the downgrade leading to the retaining wall, there are several ominous signs posted by Maryland State Roads that read "If Brakes Fail, Ditch Truck Immediately."

[Harry K, 09/08/2012]

Backbone Mountain is the highest in Maryland, and the abrupt wall is at the conclusion of a 4 mile descent at a 9 percent grade. The fatalities have mostly been truckers.


Nearby Offbeat Places

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America's Oldest Road SignAmerica's Oldest Road Sign, Frostburg, MD - 14 mi.
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In the region:
Castle Restaurant, Stoystown, PA - 43 mi.

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