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Posted at 9:20 AM ET, 01/28/2011

Frozen roads for A.M. commute

By Mark Berman
Mark Berman

RESOURCES: Post Mobile | Capital Weather Gang | Power outages | School closings
FROM DR. GRIDLOCK: Snow guide | Snow removal information | Airline information

9:20 A.M. UPDATE:

First, a public service announcement: Commuters, before you set out today, make sure you clean off the roof of your vehicle. A lot of people seem to be hitting the road right now, but a number of drivers seem to have forgotten to do this.

There's pretty awful backups on I-66 East right now that are surely inspiring panicked flashbacks from drivers just 36 hours after the Wednesday evening nightmare. Traffic is badly backed up approaching the Beltway, and delays start shortly after the Vienna Metro.

The Inner Loop is also a slog nearing I-66.

I-395 North was pretty slow earlier this morning, but appears to have cleared up considerably. Traffic is moving easily now north of the Springfield Interchange as well as approaching the 14th Street Bridge.

There are smatterings of traffic in downtown Washington, as well as on inbound commuter routes like 16th Street, Georgia Avenue and New York Avenue/U.S. 50. Inbound Pennsylvania Avenue appears pretty clear right now.

In Maryland, some of the Beltway congestion from earlier this morning has cleared up. The Outer Loop is still slow near New Hampshire Avenue.

8:55 A.M. UPDATE:

The accident on southbound U.S. 29/Columbia Pike in Burtonsville has been cleared and all southbound lanes reopened.

8:40 A.M. UPDATE:

An accident is blocking northbound Sycamore Street in the 1900 block of the street, according to Arlington Alert. This is right near the East Falls Church Metro, so this will stymie traffic heading there.

8:30 A.M. UPDATE:

The accident on southbound U.S. 29/Columbia Pike is now only blocking one lane and one of the shoulders at Greencastle Road in Burtonsville. Still, you might be better off taking New Hampshire Avenue south in the near future.

8:20 A.M. UPDATE:

An accident is blocking southbound U.S. 29/Columbia Pike at Greencastle Road in Burtonsville. If you're heading south, avoid U.S. 29 and head over to New Hampshire Avenue.

The Maryland State Highway Administration reports that the majority of state maintained roads are dry and passable, though some spots still have black ice.

7:55 A.M. UPDATE:

The gridlock on the Beltway around New Hampshire Avenue is still causing big problems in that area. I-95 North is seeing some congestion north of the Franconia Springfield Parkway, and the backups on I-395 North just north of the Springfield Interchange are considerable. There's also traffic on Connecticut Avenue in Northwest Washington heading from Friendship Heights towards downtown.

7:35 A.M. UPDATE:

Clearly some commuters are heading back into the office, because there are some spots with congestion you'd see on a regular morning. Traffic is backed up on westbound New York Avenue heading into downtown Washington (things slow down approaching Bladensburg Road), while I-395 North is also pretty cramped just north of the Springfield Interchange.

7:15 A.M. UPDATE:

There's a moderate amount of the Beltway at some spots (both directions at Arlington Boulevard and New Hampshire avenue, on the Outer Loop at River Road), but by and large the roads look pretty empty so far this morning. It looks like a good number of people are either taking off of work, telecommuting or simply waiting to go in later.

Commuters, what are you seeing and experiencing? Are you avoiding hitting the road after the nightmarish commutes on Wednesday? Let us know in the comments below.

6:55 A.M. UPDATE:

The Beltway is slowing down around New Hampshire Avenue, while there's also moderate congestion around the American Legion Bridge in both directions.

The bridges in and out of the District all look pretty clear this morning, with light traffic from all directions so far.

6:30 A.M. UPDATE:

The Beltway looks pretty clear right now, but it's already evident by the traffic around the G.W. Parkway and New Hampshire Avenue that there are already more cars on the road now when compared to the peak of the A.M. commute yesterday.

There's already pretty bad congestion on I-95 North in Woodbridge and at the Springfield Interchange. There's significant congestion on I-95 North at the Franconia Springfield Parkway right now.

And weather-related issues are stymying eastbound traffic on Laurel Bowie Road/MD 197 at Snowden Road in Laurel.


After the snowstorm turned much of the Washington region into a powerless popsicle over the past two days, there's another problem for commuters today: Refreezing. Temperatures dropped overnight, which means all of those slushy and slick spots refroze and could be hazards through the morning, according to the Capital Weather Gang. (And, yes, there are even some flakes coming later today.)

As of this morning, there are still 125,000 people without power in the region. Multiple area schools are closed and others are delayed.

Crews hit the road yesterday to deal with the snow that hit Wednesday evening, and they were also treating the road to prepare for today's snowfall.

Nonetheless, expect icy roads and a lot of slick areas if you are heading back to the office today. Whether you're walking or driving, use great caution. Check back here throughout the morning, as we will have updates on traffic conditions throughout the area.

By Mark Berman  | January 28, 2011; 9:20 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories, Commuting  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Orange Line briefly delayed
Next: Preparing for more snow today


Thursday morning, on the way to work, on the outer-loop beltway (I-495) overpass over the Springfield interchange, there were two of the large dump truck snow plows followed by a red pickup truck. There were plowing the snow off the shoulder, pushing it over the rail, so it could fall to the ground below. They did not seem to be aware that they were pushing the snow and ice onto the highway lanes far below. I am sure that a number of cars were hit or had to suddenly swerve to avoid large amounts of ice, snow, and sand/salt falling from above. This would seem to be a no brainer -- don't dump ice over the side of a bridge onto a highway full of traffic, but ....

Posted by: VA-Slim | January 28, 2011 7:47 AM | Report abuse

A second thought ............ why won't people clean off the top of their cars/SUVs? Following these vehicles down the highway forces you to be constantly trying to dodge the snow and ice flying back at you. I know that the police are busy, so they can't be enforcing it, and there isn't any foreign outfit with cameras that can film it and automatically charge us for this infraction. My only suggestion would be for Virginia to authorize police to pull over and massively fine vehicles with snow and ice on the roof. There would be some degree of judgment; however, the vehicles with four or five inches of ice and snow on the roof would get police attention. Of course, the guy in the Mercedes-Benz GL450 that bombed me with ice and snow on the outer loop of the beltway, between Rt 50 and Gallows Road, should have had a chat with the State Trooper. It is one thing to be doing 65 or 70, it is another to be dumping ice on vehicles you are passing.

Posted by: VA-Slim | January 28, 2011 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Military Rd in Arlington is STILL not cleared completely. That is unacceptable. It's night and day once you hit Glebe Rd and see how VDOT was able to successfully clear the road curb to curb.

Also, many of the streets which house large condo buildings (think multiple hundreds of people per block) in the R-B corridor are still not cleared and are frozen chunks of ice now.

Posted by: yell53 | January 28, 2011 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Arlington alerts is pretty useless. Most of the alerts seem to be rebroadcast's of other county's alerts. They have very few alerts for their own county.

Posted by: yell53 | January 28, 2011 9:12 AM | Report abuse

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