Gov. O'Malley: You won't see pavement until Friday
Gov. Martin O'Malley just said that every county in Maryland is currently experiencing blizzard-like conditions and that while state crews have so far been able to keep one lane passable on state highways, there should be no expectation that most Maryland roads will be plowed to bare pavement until at least Friday afternoon.
"We are all accustomed and desire to see our county and city crews ... being able to scrape the snow down to the pavement. That will not be a possibility over the next 72 hours," O'Malley said. "The best we can do is send the plows down, with the plow up to make them passable by tapping down, and tramping down, that snow to make it passable for the Humvees and the emergency crews."
Speaking at the state's emergency operations center, O'Malley said nearly 30,000 homes across Maryland have lost power and that that number is expected to rise significantly. He also said that emergency workers are dealing with a rising number of roof collapses, and have seen a significant number of "snow blower" injuries.
O'Malley, who had warned Tuesday that he would not hesitate to close state highways to prevent truck accidents that endangered other drivers during the weekend storm, has not yet ordered any such road closures since the snow started falling on Tuesday, despite several accidents, including ones involving tractor trailers on I-270 and I-95.
O'Malley spokesman Shaun Adamec said Maryland State Police and highway administration officials have the authority to shut down certain roadways. But he backed away from the governor's tough talk on Tuesday, saying that shutting down entire state highway systems can have enormous regional implications.
"If we shut down, and Delaware and Pennsylvania and Virginia do not, it would make through travel very difficult for trucks already on the road. We have strongly encouraged people to stay off the roads and they have largely complied."
The governor himself has spent a significant amount of time on state highways during recent storms. He has made the near 100-mile round trip from the governor's mansion in Annapolis to the state's emergency operations center in Reisterstown, northwest of Baltimore, almost daily. He arrived there in his state-issued Hybrid SUV before noon on Wednesday wearing a plaid shirt, winter coat and jeans.
O'Malley said it was impressive that there had been no fatal accidents so far on state roads, and that he wanted to keep it that way.
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