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Posted at 8:30 AM ET, 02/ 4/2011

Inner loop snarled in MD

By Mark Berman
Mark Berman

9:35 A.M. UPDATE:

There are still massive backups on the Beltway around New Hampshire Avenue. The clearest part of the Beltway in Montgomery County appears to be as far west as River Road. As for alternate routes: University Boulevard is also very, very backed up, while congestion has eased on East-West Highway.

9:20 A.M. UPDATE:

The worst of the Beltway delays visibly persist between Connecticut Avenue and New Hampshire Avenue. While things aren't necessarily great on alternate routes (University Boulevard is quite jammed up at Piney Branch Road), it's an improvement and could help you get further from the epicenter of this mess.

9 A.M. UPDATE:

Another lane has reopened on the inner loop near New Hampshire Avenue. Just one lane remains closed, but the massive backups remain.

8:50 A.M. UPDATE:

Delays due to the accident stretch about 10 miles. Drivers are still urged to use East-West Highway to the south and University Boulevard to the north.

Through traffic south of Springfield in Virginia should use the east side of I-95 (the Prince George's Side), according to David Buck, spokesman for the Maryland State Highway Administration.

8:38 A.M. UPDATE:

The two left lanes have reopened on the inner loop of the Beltway, while all lanes are now open on the outer loop, according to the Maryland State Highway Administration.

8:30 A.M. UPDATE:

An accident involving multiple cars and a garbage truck has shut down the inner loop of the Beltway as well as one outer loop lane near New Hampshire Avenue, according to the Maryland State Highway Administration.

The accident is causing inner loop backups as far back as Old Georgetown Road. In addition, there are also bad backups on the outer loop, which is always more congested at this time of the morning, said David Buck, spokesman for the Maryland State Highway Administration. They are working at getting diversions into place to help commuters get around this spot, he said. Montgomery County officials are already adjusting the timing of their traffic signals to help ease traffic out of that area.

Travelers are urged to avoid the Beltway and use East-West Highway to the south and University Boulevard to the north. But those roads will still be congested, Buck warns. "It's not like there's a plethora of great alternates," he said.

People involved in the accident are being transferred to area hospitals, according to the Maryland State Police. They don't know yet their conditions nor exactly what caused the accident. The state police believe the road should reopen sometime soon, but backups will remain considerable for some time.

8:15 A.M. UPDATE:

The accident on the Inner Loop before New Hampshire Avenue is still blocking all Inner Loop lanes and one Outer Loop Lane.

There's also still debris on southbound New Hampshire Avenue after the Beltway, so even if you are on that road and bypassing the Inner Loop you will still hit some delays.

8:05 A.M. UPDATE:

An accident on the Inner Loop before New Hampshire Avenue has blocked all of the Inner Loop lanes and one Outer Loop lane. Expect massive, massive delays.

7:55 A.M. UPDATE:

Westbound New York Avenue has some heavy traffic at Bladensburg Rd in Northeast Washington. In Southeast Washington, traffic is a bit slow on S. Capitol Street at the Douglass Bridge.

7:50 A.M. UPDATE:

There's debris on southbound New Hampshire Avenue after the Beltway, blocking one lane and one of the shoulders.

The Beltway has spots of congestion in both directions in Virginia on both sides of I-66, so expect delays if you're heading that way.

7:35 A.M. UPDATE:

The Outer Loop is unusually slow approaching I-66 right now. Generally, the bigger delays in that spot are on the Inner Loop, so if you are planning on taking the Outer Loop in Virginia this morning expect to hit more congestion than usual.

There's a disabled vehicle on 23rd and Irving streets in Southeast Washington, while there's an accident at 13th and Peabody streets in Northwest Washington.

7:20 A.M. UPDATE:

I-66 East is pretty slow at the Beltway, while the Inner Loop is backed up at Telegraph Road.

7:05 A.M. UPDATE:

There was a disabled vehicle on the Outer Loop at Braddock Road, but it has since been cleared. There was also a disabled vehicle on the Outer Loop at G.W. Parkway that has been cleared. So there might be some residual delays on the Outer Loop at those spots.

6:45 A.M. UPDATE:

The accident on the Outer Loop has been cleared, but there might be some residual delays near the B.W. Parkway.

6:30 A.M. UPDATE:

There's an accident on the Outer Loop before the exit for the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, and while it's only blocking the shoulder right now, this could cause bad backups.

ORIGINAL POST:

It'll be cold this morning as temperatures rise later in the day. While there won't be any precipitation out there during the morning commute, there is another problem: black ice. Temperatures dropped to the 20s last night, which means the remnants of snow from last week's storms could have refrozen.

AAA Mid-Atlantic cautions drivers to worry about black ice on the roads, warning motorists to be especially cautious when dealing with shady areas, colder suburbs, lesser-used roads, bridges, overpasses, tunnels and roads winding around waterways and rivers. Drivers should use extra caution today, leaving extra space between themselves and other cars, and remember to brake during your approach if you see ice ahead. (Bikers and pedestrians should also be overly cautious, because sidewalks and bike lanes/paths aren't immune to this.)

Just use caution out there. And let us know anything you see or hear -- if you encounter any delays, if you spot any black ice, if you hear about any congestion or closed roads. Let us know in the comments below or give us a shout on Twitter (@DrGridlock) and we'll get the word out.

By Mark Berman  | February 4, 2011; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  Commuting, Congestion  
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Next: The weekend and beyond

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