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Posted at 6:22 PM ET, 01/26/2011

Road closures around the region

By Staff Reports

Some major thoroughfares are completely jammed or officially shut down. Here are a few, based on accounts from Post reporters on the scene and from officials.

Stuck or stalled buses are causing problems on many routes.

Northbound 16th Street is complete gridlock going north. It has taken one Post staffer 3.25 hours to go from 16th and M to 16th and Upshur.

A large downed tree is blocking traffic both ways on Massachusetts Ave NW several blocks south of American University. Traffic is being diverted back.

U.S. Park Police report standstill traffic conditions on the George Washington Parkway in both directions, northwest of the city due to a myriad of cars sliding off the road.

Police said there were no serious injuries, but the northbound lanes were jammed from Rosslyn to Route 123 and southbound from the Beltway to the exit to Langley.

On the Wilson Bridge to Maryland, the express lanes are a parking lot. Local lanes are slightly better.

Canal Road is "totally stacked up." One driver said he turned around and came back after sitting for 2 hours.

Anything with rear-wheel drive is having trouble with tiny grades on M Street in Georgetown, with Circulator buses, pickup trucks and vans all sliding.

Colesville Road northbound in the vicinity of Georgia Ave has apparently been at a standstill for at least an hour.

Dulles Toll Road is jammed and serving as a chokepoint.

Prince William Parkway is shut down between Hoadly Rd. and Libera Ave. in Manassas with multiple cars stuck in snow.

The Third Street Tunnel is impassable. District officials report two incidents inside. Firefighters responded to the report of a car on fire about 6:15 p.m. in the southbound lanes. Police are investigating a vehicle accident in the northbound lanes.

Virginia's Route 7 is closed at the Clarke county line.

Suitland Parkway is closed between Firth Sterling Ave. and Standon Road in Southeast. Pennsylvania Ave SE outbound is closed at Minnesota Ave.

All routes west from Leesburg were blocked just after 4:30.

Here are some other conditions out there:

A car is overturned at Canal Rd & Reservior Rd NW

There's big backup, little movement, on River Road outbound in Bethesda between Western Ave and Willard Ave.

About 30 mph is the fashionable speed on I-295 north from I-495, but the gridlock on I-295 south extends from the Wilson bridge back to Pennsylvania Ave. Several emergency vehicles were stuck with everyone else.

In Northwest Washington, major roads like Connecticut Avenue and Western Avenue were still jammed as of 7:30 pm. There was no sign of a plows or salt trucks anywhere.

Route 1 in Old Town Alexandria is jammed and slow going.

Rockville Pike is moving slowly near downtown Rockville. Several traffic lights are out. Roads in downtown Rockville haven't seen a plow. Almost every car without 4-wheel drive is spinning out. Many cars on side roads are stuck with spinning wheels. Intersection at Route 28 and Monroe is gridlocked near the courthouse and county government building complex with cars trying to get to Rockville Pike and I-270. It is literally gridlocked in both directions with cars unable to move both because of heavy traffic and vehicles that are stuck with spinning wheels. Lots of cars have been left in parking lots by people who gave up and walked to Metro. Motorists are stranded with stuck vehicles along westbound Wootton Parkway.

By Staff Reports  | January 26, 2011; 6:22 PM ET
Categories:  Advisories, Commuting, Weather  
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Comments

Braddock Road and 495 is not moving...so it is basically like any other day.

Posted by: SA-Town | January 26, 2011 6:49 PM | Report abuse

2 hour drive from The Toll Road to Sterling on west bound Rt 7. Closure somewhere at Colvin Run, heading up the hill. Re-routed around it.

Total 3 hours from Ballston to Cascades in a sturdy 4wd truck.

Posted by: JkR- | January 26, 2011 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Rt 7 inbound from Sterling to McLean - 4 hours so far. Half a mile in the past 90 minutes.

Posted by: NoVaMusicMom | January 26, 2011 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Its very bad, especially the traffic, for a number of reasons.
1) Snow came fast and heavy - we've had almost 10 inches south and west of Fairfax;
2) Plows cannot plow with all the cars on the roads;
3) Two many people without 4 wheel drive vehicles - I have an SUV and finally got home by getting off the main road and cutting thru neighborhoods - with 4 wheel drive it was not hard at all. Folks who opt not to have 4 wheel drive just need to learn to get off the roads when it snows this bad;
4)Terrible drivers - mainly blocking lights - people need to learn not to enter an intersection unless you can see that you will be able to clear it before the light changes;

Posted by: VirginiaResident2007 | January 26, 2011 8:30 PM | Report abuse

I agree with 4 wholeheartedly. even without snow, this area has the most selfish drivers in the country. driving 1/2 mile on shoulders to cut into a slow lane... you know who you are people - stop it. i grew up driving in Boston, where people knew how to navigate a storm.

Posted by: emoenergy1 | January 26, 2011 8:49 PM | Report abuse

I agree with #4 wholeheartedly. even without snow, this area has the most selfish drivers in the country. driving 1/2 mile on shoulders to cut into a slow lane... you know who you are people - stop it. i grew up driving in Boston, where people knew how to navigate a storm.

Posted by: emoenergy1 | January 26, 2011 8:51 PM | Report abuse

What is the problem on Braddock road westbound - not moving at all - traffic backed up from GMU back to beltway. Some fool stopped and apparently left a car in one lane on the hill approaching GMU and no sign of anyone to help/move them for the past 2 hours - many other drivers just stop - too timid to even try the hill..so braddock is at a standstill - where are the Fx Police?

Posted by: VirginiaResident2007 | January 26, 2011 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Virginiadriver is exactly right. I spent 3.5 hours driving from 18th and I to Chevy Chase DC, initially trying to go up Connecticut Avenue. I have never seen so many horizontal buses and the taxis! What on earth! Cars were going into the opposing traffic to avoid the taxis driving with their rears swinging wildly back and forth. I tried to take two side roads to get off of Connecticut, but only faced downed trees that made the road impassable. Finally I went BACK south, took Nebraska over to Reno, and realized I could only make it to the Chevy Chase side of Connecticut by crossing over at Livingston or similar -- Western was impassable. I have been here almost twenty years and driven in some crap weather and I have NEVER seen anything like this -- stuck buses, downed trees, sliding cars. I will also never own a vehicle that is not a 4-wheel drive. My Honda CRV got me home, plain and simple. Hope the rest of the folks make it home okay and soon.

Posted by: esmerelda123 | January 26, 2011 9:08 PM | Report abuse

I drove from my house to the Franconia-Springfield Metro stop (roundtrip 7.5 miles) to pick up my wife. The roads weren't great, but they moved....except for around the Metro stop. It took an hour and a half roundtrip due to being stuck for about half an hour at the Metro stop and 20 minutes trying to get through a blocked intersection into the Metro stop.

I'm glad I didn't take the direct route home via Van Dorn Street, though. There's an uphill grade on there, and when I approached from the other direction (where it's flat) I saw a total standstill with a tow truck trying to remove a stuck vehicle that was blocking both lanes near the top of the hill. At least, that's what it looked like. Maybe it was an accident. I have a front-wheel drive Acura TL with a manual transmission and it does pretty well in the snow as long as I turn off the stability control when I have to come to a stop and as long as I start out in second gear instead of first.

The thing I noted on my way over to the Metro stop at around 5:10 PM was (a) lots of invisible cars with no headlights, even light-colored cars; and (b) several people persisting in using handheld cell phones while driving. I'd like to see those people prosecuted for reckless endangerment.

Posted by: 1995hoo | January 26, 2011 9:46 PM | Report abuse

One family member of mine picked up another at 4:00 today at the Dunn Loring metro station, trying to get back home in Ashburn. After total gridlock/impassable conditions on 7 north and difficulties getting onto 66 (though 66 appears moving on cams), they've been forced, almost 6 hours later (10:00), to seek shelter in a hotel in Falls Church.

Commuters, weather forecasters (outside CWG), and those responsible for maintaining roads alike have all done a poor job preparing for this storm. This amount of snow should not force major metro areas to cease functioning, especially one that after last year should know better.

Posted by: dcsnowedout | January 26, 2011 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Here's the reason for gridlock: The Federal Government shutting down 2 hours early. That put all those cars on the road BEFORE the plows had a chance to salt and clear the roads. So instead of navigating relatively clear roads, people are out there on the wet, packed snow sliding around all over the place. OPM made the worst decision they could possibly make, and someone, somewhere, is patting themselves on the back for it.

How about next time letting people leave 3-4 hours ahead of the storm rather than when the storm is imminent? That'll get the cars off the road before it gets really bad.

Posted by: gilmoredaniel | January 26, 2011 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Still on Rt 7. 6 hours down, still 6.5 miles to go until home.

Posted by: NoVaMusicMom | January 26, 2011 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Still on Rt 7. 6 hours down, still 6.5 miles to go until home.

Posted by: NoVaMusicMom | January 26, 2011 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Still on Rt 7. 6 hours down, still 6.5 miles to go until home.

Posted by: NoVaMusicMom | January 26, 2011 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Still on Rt 7. 6 hours down, still 6.5 miles to go until home.

Posted by: NoVaMusicMom | January 26, 2011 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Is George Washington (GW) Parkway open??

Posted by: ramamurp | January 26, 2011 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Started driving to Tysons from Shady Grove Road at 4:30pm yesterday. Now, 9 miles later, at 1:23am, still sitting on the American Legion Bridge, 5.4 miles to go.

No law enforcement, no one managing the situation. Where are they?

Posted by: drbrreed | January 27, 2011 1:34 AM | Report abuse

I grew up in Northern Virginia and now live in Takoma Park. I have now lived on each side of the river for the same amount of time. While Maryland may have just as many bad drivers as Virginia or DC, there is more road rage in Virginia.

Posted by: lisamosc | January 27, 2011 3:40 AM | Report abuse

"Here's the reason for gridlock: The Federal Government shutting down 2 hours early. That put all those cars on the road BEFORE the plows had a chance to salt and clear the roads."

The rain was a major problem there. The roads were pre-treated, but the rain washed it all away.

Posted by: 1995hoo | January 27, 2011 9:43 AM | Report abuse

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