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Posted at 8:40 AM ET, 02/ 9/2011

A messy commute on roads, rails

By Mark Berman
Mark Berman

10 A.M. UPDATE: Troopers hoped to have the roadway cleaned up by 10:30.

The Virginia State Police have charged Oscar R. Albarracin, 34, of New York, of reckless driving regarding the tractor trailer accident on I-66 West early Wednesday morning. Albarracin and a male passenger were both wearing seatbelts during the accident; the male passenger was not injured, while Albarracin was transported to Ffx Inova Hospital for treatment.

Speed was a factor in causing the accident, according to the state police. Roughly half the trash being hauled in the truck spilled onto the roadway, but none of it was considered hazardous material. The accident caused huge backups as most of I-66 West was blocked during the morning commute.


I-66 West crash scene. (Gerald Martineau/For The Washington Post)

9:40 A.M. UPDATE:

Heavy congestion and backups remain a problem on the region's roads this morning. The three left lanes remain closed on I-66 West at the Beltway, with backups stretching to Falls Church. Eastbound I-66 is no easier, with delays as far back as the Fairfax County Parkway.

The outer loop of the Beltway is still snarled in Tysons Corner, and delays stretch across the river and into Maryland (to River Road). Things are smoother in both directions to the south (near Braddock Road). But the northeastern corner of the Beltway is still heavily backed, with outer loop traffic looking terrible at Colesville Road and points east. The Post's Josh White reports that easbound Dulles Toll Road is a disaster, while westbound traffic is moving smoothly.

Bridge check! Traffic is backed up on S. Capitol Street heading to the Douglass Bridge, while -- astonishingly -- I-395 North is actually moving smoothly at the 14th Street Bridge. I-66 East is very slow up at the Roosevelt Memorial Bridge, while the Key Bridge heading into the District is looking pretty clear right now.


A nightmarish commute Wednesday morning troubled commuters on the roads and rails throughout the region. Delays on Metro's Red Line began before 7 a.m. and didn't let up as the morning wore on, while MARC riders awoke to find multiple trains canceled.

Before the morning rush even began, an accident on I-66 West shut down that roadway at the Beltway. Shortly before 5 a.m., a dump truck crashed into the Jersey barrier in the left shoulder of the westbound lanes and overturned, according to the Virginia State Police. The garbage the truck was hauling spilled out when the truck overturned.

All westbound lanes were closed for a time, though now the far right lane is open for traffic. The ramp from the outer loop of the Beltway to I-66 West remains closed as cleanup continues. As more and more commuters headed out, backups stretched back to Falls Church.

The truck was turned upright by 8:13 a.m., while the driver of the truck was taken to Fairfax Inova Hospital for treatment, according to the Virginia State Police.

There were other delays and road closures during the morning, stymieing traffic on the outer loop of the Beltway throughout Maryland and Virginia.

An accident on the outer loop of the Beltway is blocking part of the ramp to Telegraph Road. Traffic is getting by on the right, but expect big backups at this spot.

The lanes reopened on the Dulles Toll Road, but eastbound traffic is just plodding along. The westbound lanes have more movement, but things do slow down a bit near the Beltway.

8:40 A.M. UPDATE:

The outer loop of the Beltway is absolutely snarled near Tysons Corner. If you are heading that way, expect big, big delays.

The three lanes on I-66 West remain blocked at the Beltway, and backups begin as far back as Falls Church. Head south, take Arlington Boulevard west.

The accident on the Dulles Toll Road has cleared and the lanes reopened.

8:25 A.M. UPDATE:

A tractor trailer accident on the eastbound Dulles Toll Road is blocking the right lane and right shoulder near the exit for Spring Hill Road.

The accident on the outer loop of the Beltway at the I-270 Spur has been cleared.

Traffic signals are reportedly out at 7th Street and Jefferson Avenue in Southwest Washington.

There's fire department-related activity in the 3500 block of Woodley Road in Northwest, otherwise known as the northern border of the National Cathedral. Avoid that spot, as there will be traffic.

8:05 A.M. UPDATE:

The accident on the outer loop of the Beltway near U.S. 1 has been cleared and the lane reopened.

But there's now an accident on the outer loop of the Beltway at the I-270 Spur blocking one lane and one of the shoulders.

7:45 A.M. UPDATE:

An accident on the outer loop of the Beltway to the west of U.S. 1 in Maryland is blocking one lane.

Outer loop traffic is still very jammed up in parts of Maryland, with backups stretching from Colesville Road to the College Park area. Things look much smoother on the inner loop in the same area and in both directions of the Beltway closer to I-270.

As you might imagine, I-66 West is pretty congested up near the Beltway. However, delays don't seem to start until somewhere near the Dulles Toll Road exit, so if you're heading west that's where you can expect problems to begin.

Meanwhile, I-66 East is all sorts of backed up heading to the Beltway, and they don't even have three of four lanes blocked like their westbound counterparts.

7:25 A.M. UPDATE:

The westbound lane and shoulder have reopened on U.S. 50 at Lottsford Vista Road.

7:20 A.M. UPDATE:

The I-395 North lanes have reopened at Edsall Road, but there's still congestion in that area, which could cause big headaches.

7:05 A.M. UPDATE:

An accident on I-395 North at Edsall Road is blocking the left two lanes, which could seriously snarl traffic around the Springfield Interchange.

Beltway traffic is snarled between College Park and Georgia Avenue, with westbound traffic moving very slowly during that stretch. Traffic heading towards College Park appears to be moving without any problems, but big delays along the northern and northeastern segments of the Beltway.

6:40 A.M. UPDATE:

Traffic on I-66 West at the Beltway is still getting by on the right lane, but the other three lanes and entrance ramp all remain blocked. There are already backups. A detour has been set up, diverting I-66 West to I-495 South, and from there putting traffic on Arlington Boulevard/Route 50 heading back to I-66.

Again, your best bet to avoid getting caught in this mess is to divert from I-66 before you get to that area. Head west on a route to the south (like Arlington Boulevard).

6:35 A.M. UPDATE:

Traffic is only going to get heavier on I-66 West as the rush hour progresses, which means backups will become considerable approaching the Beltway. A good detour would probably be to head south to Arlington Boulevard or Lee Highway and head west that way; once you're past the Beltway, you can head north and reconnect with I-66. There will be some congestion, but if you need to head west and need I-66 that's your best bet. (I wouldn't recommend heading much north of that, because you'll hit Tysons traffic.)

6:20 A.M. UPDATE:

The accident on the outer loop of the Beltway near University Boulevard is blocking one of the shoulders.

The eastbound lane has reopened on U.S. 50 at Lottsford Vista Road, while one westbound lane and one of the westbound shoulders remain blocked.

6:10 A.M. UPDATE:

An accident on U.S. 50 is blocking one lane in each direction at Lottsford Vista Road.

6:07 A.M. UPDATE:

The right lane has reopened on I-66 West near the Beltway, so stay to the right if you're heading that way. But the other three lanes and entrance ramp are all still blocked.


Good morning, commuters. It'll be another cold one today, but with less brutal winds than we experienced yesterday. Check back here throughout the morning for updates on your morning commute. And as always, let us know what you see out there by posting in the comments below or tweeting us (@DrGridlock).

A tractor trailer accident on I-66 West is blocking all lanes and the entrance ramp to the west of the Beltway.

There's an accident on the outer loop of the Beltway before the University Boulevard exit, which could slow traffic in that area.

By Mark Berman  | February 9, 2011; 8:40 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories, Commuting, Congestion  
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I knew I should have shredded my credit card statement, now its laying on 66 for all to see

Posted by: tracing | February 9, 2011 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Why is someone "OF NEW YORK" driving a trash truck through our area? Is he an illegal immigrant? These type of backups should NOT be a daily occurance in our nations capital.

Posted by: katesgram | February 9, 2011 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Why is someone "OF NEW YORK" driving a trash truck through our area? Is he an illegal immigrant? These type of backups should NOT be a daily occurance in our nations capital.

Posted by: katesgram | February 9, 2011 10:22 AM | Report abuse

What about this morning's significant blue/yellow delays starting at 6:45 a.m. due to a switch malfunction at Pentagon? Took nearly 20 minutes to get from Crystal City to Pentagon but Metro never sent out any alerts.

Posted by: pentagoncity1 | February 9, 2011 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Check out a documentary called Trash Inc. on MSNBC. NY dumps trucks there trash all over the place most of it goes to PA.

Posted by: shawnblyther1 | February 9, 2011 10:51 AM | Report abuse

That's strange. My bicycle commute took exactly the same amount of time it takes every day.

Posted by: krickey7 | February 9, 2011 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Pave Arlington.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | February 9, 2011 3:15 PM | Report abuse

krickey7: Your bike commute did not add any combustion products (CO, CO2, NOX) to the environment, either. :)

And it still took me 1 minute to walk to my basement office to telecommute. :D

Posted by: williamhuxtan | February 9, 2011 3:24 PM | Report abuse

That was one stinky load! I could smell it from a couple miles away this morning when I went to my car!

I saw a Lance Armstrong in MD on a two lane road in the morning holding up about a dozen cars. Glad I was going the other way.

Posted by: fluxgirl | February 9, 2011 5:14 PM | Report abuse

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