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Posted at 12:45 PM ET, 12/ 3/2010

A slippery commute on 495

By Ashley Halsey III and Mark Berman
Mark Berman

12:50 p.m. Update:

An effort to prevent the Capital Beltway from turning into a skating rink accidentally turned it into one Friday morning when a contractor pre-treating the highway to melt snow spread the wrong stuff by mistake.

It was slippery, and caused a bunch of accidents between the American Legion Bridge and College Park around sunrise. In addition to at least eight collisions, many more motorists had some unanticipated hairy moments as they headed into the morning commute.

Though the chance of snow this weekend has diminished during the day, Maryland's State Highway Administration looked at earlier forecasts and decided to pre-treat major highways as a precaution. The SHA uses salt brine for that, but one of their contractors mixed liquid magnesium with the brine.

Mixing the two liquids is not uncommon, but use of magnesium usually is more effective when temperatures get below 15 degrees.

After accident reports and complaints, SHA crews quickly laid down salt to dissolve the mess.


9:30 A.M. UPDATE:

An accident on the outer loop at Ritchie Marlboro Road could cause further delays for travelers.

The I-395 North delays have eased after a considerably slow morning for travelers on that route.

9:05 A.M. UPDATE:

The spate of outer loop issues in Maryland that repeatedly closed lanes earlier this morning stem from a contractor using the wrong chemical this morning, according to WTOP. The contractor pretreated the Beltway with the wrong chemical and made both directions slippery from the American Legion Bridge to I-95 in College Park, while the bridge decks between Bethesda and Silver Spring were the most slippery. Maryland highway crews have retreated the roadway with salt, if you're wondering why you saw salt trucks out this morning.

9 A.M. UPDATE:

C Street is closed between 3rd and 4th streets in Northeast as D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services investigates a natural gas odor on 4th Street between Massachusetts Avenue and C Street.

The disabled vehicle on the outer loop at I-66 has been cleared and the lane reopened.

I-395 North is still very, very backed up throughout much of the roadway.

8:30 A.M. UPDATE:

The disabled vehicle was blocking one of the outer loop lanes at New Hampshire Avenue until a moment ago; it's now only blocking one of the shoulders.

8:20 A.M. UPDATE:

There's a disabled vehicle on the outer loop at New Hampshire Avenue.

The accident at Old Georgetown Road has been cleared.

Meanwhile, a disabled vehicle on the outer loop at I-66 is blocking the right lane.

I-395 North is still very, very backed up.

7:50 A.M. UPDATE:

An accident on the outer loop at Old Georgetown Road is blocking one lane and one of the shoulders.

7:35 A.M. UPDATE:

The accident on the outer loop at U.S. 29 has been cleared.

I-395 North is now badly backed up from the 14th Street Bridge for much of the stretch back to the Beltway. Expect big, big delays.

7:10 A.M. UPDATE:

The shoulders on the outer loop at Connecticut Avenue and Sligo Creek Parkway have reopened.

But another accident on the outer loop in Maryland, this time at U.S. 29, could again slow traffic and cause problems.

6:50 A.M. UPDATE:

I-66 East is backed up at Chain Bridge Road.

There's congestion on I-395 North after Duke Street and again after Glebe Road.

6:30 A.M. UPDATE:

The accident on the outer loop at Connecticut Avenue is now just blocking one of the shoulders.

There's also an accident on the outer loop at Sligo Creek Parkway, and that is also blocking one of the shoulders.

6:20 A.M. UPDATE:

The accident on the inner loop blocking the left side of the ramp to the westbound Dulles Toll Road (exit 45) has been cleared.

The accident on the outer loop west of Georgia Avenue is still blocking one of the shoulders, but the lanes have reopened.

There's an accident on the outer loop at Connecticut Avenue, which is blocking two lanes and one of the shoulders.

ORIGINAL POST:

Good morning, commuters. Another chilly day awaits us as the week winds down. So bundle up and check back here throughout the morning rush hour for tips and alerts to the headaches awaiting you on the roads.

-- An accident on the outer loop to the west of Georgia Avenue is blocking two lanes and one of the shoulders.

-- An accident on the inner loop is blocking the left side of the ramp to the westbound Dulles Toll Road (exit 45).

-- Remember, the Virginia State Police have said they're ramping up enforcement on I-66 today and tomorrow in an effort to crack down on drunk driving.

By Ashley Halsey III and Mark Berman  | December 3, 2010; 12:45 PM ET
Categories:  Advisories, Commuting, Congestion  
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Next: Federal Center SW Station reopens

Comments

Didn't this happen in 1999 when Anthony Williams was mayor?

Posted by: bs2004 | December 3, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

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