Metro said ice continues to be the biggest challenge in restoring service for bus, rail and MetroAccess, the service for the elderly and disabled... In some cases, the electrified third rail has iced over again after being cleared. Officials said the goal is to have all above-ground stations open in time for the Monday commute at 5 a.m.
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is reporting on its Web site that runways are closed until 6 a.m. tomorrow at both Dulles International Airport and Reagan National Airport. The airports authority is asking passengers to check airline Web sites before coming to the airport to find out whether flights will be operating....
With darkness falling, bridges, overpasses and off-ramps are too dangerous to drive on, said Charlie Gischlar of the Maryland State Highway Administration, even though the state is laying down salt. "It's coming down at such a clip that as soon as we make a pass it's just piling up again," Gischlar said. He says they are using snow blowers, in addition to plows, because by now many highway shoulders are packed with plowed snow. "We're trying to keep at least a couple of lanes open. Then, when we can, we'll come in with front-end loaders to clear the shoulders." --Ashley Halsey III...
As the snow piles up and the daylight fades, it's pretty obvious that people shouldn't be driving. What may be less apparent is that it's difficult, and potentially dangerous, to be walking.
The area's record snowfall stranded 300 people at the District's Greyhound bus station, according to officials with the American Red Cross .
The Virginia Department of Transportation reports several closures on major roadways and some ramps, because of deteriorating travel conditions and accidents. The department continues to urge drivers to stay off the roads.
Getting out in the snow so you won't have to, I return convinced that I will never hesitate to offer the simplest, most duh advice before every storm. This storm, while intense, is quite well-behaved. Light weight and easy to shovel. It's the drivers I worry about.
Amtrak is reporting no significant delays at this time. But officials said delays may occur as the storm intensifies.
Sen. Mikulski (D-Md.), who is still recovering from an accident in which her ankle was broken in multiple places, got to the Capitol at 7:30 a.m. Saturday after a treacherous two-hour drive down I-95 from Baltimore.
With a blizzard warning up for the metropolitan Washington area, there's really only one key bit of advice that transportation agencies have to offer for the moment: Stay inside. Nonetheless, they are doing more than ever to get the word out quickly about the state of the roads and rails.
Montgomery County officials said the Ride On bus will suspend service today at 3 p.m. due to blizzard conditions, which are making roads impassable.
DDOT has suspended DC Circulator service for all routes due to deteriorating conditions. DDOT plans to resume Circulator service two hours late on Sunday morning; the system will open at 9 a.m., instead of 7 a.m., to allow sufficient time to clear the routes.
Metro officials said suspended bus service and rails service at above-ground stations Saturday afternoon. Service continue at underground stations.
D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty declared a snow emergency, which is now in effect. All vehicles must be moved immediately from snow emergency routes. District officials are asking residents to stay at home.
As you venture out this morning and start snapping great snow pictures, remember you can share them with the rest of Washington by submitting them to the Post's storm gallery. Or, if you've taken a video, you can upload it to playlist and watch what others have shot....
D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, Department of Public Works Director William O. Howland Jr. and Department of Transportation Director Gabe Klein will hold a press conference at 9 a.m. Saturday to provide an update on the snow storm and the District's response. The Washington Post will provide details as soon as they become available....
If you venture out Saturday and decide you want to take a taxi to get around the District -- if you can -- remember that a snow emergency is in effect as of 7 a.m. That means taxi drivers can charge an extra 25 percent above normal rates. According to District officials, a preprogrammed button will automatically add the surcharge....
Videos of the mid-December snow storm by Washington Post users
Arrivals at Reagan National Airport have been halted because of decreased visibility, but the airport remains open. Check directly with your airline if you have a flight scheduled to depart or fly into a Washington area airport on Saturday. Most major airlines have canceled a majority of their flights.
Snow continues to fall around the region causing icy and slick conditions. Accidents have intensified. Blizzard warning expands to Montgomery County.
Washington area snow videos from viewers.
D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty has declared a snow emergency as of 7 a.m. Saturday, and that has some specific consequences for people who live or travel in the District. -- When the emergency begins, all vehicles must be moved immediately from snow emergency routes. Use this link to see a list of the routes. See a map here. -- The routes are posted with red and white snow emergency route signs. Parking is banned on these routes to allow unimpeded curb-to-curb salting or plowing. -- Illegally parked vehicles are subject to a $250 fine and additional fees for towing and storage at an impoundment lot. The Department of Public Works will no longer relocate vehicles in the neighborhoods. -- To locate a towed vehicle, call 202-727-5000. The Mayor's Citywide Call Center at 311 can tell you if a snow emergency has been lifted, but we'll also let you know here....
AirTran Airways said it would cut an unspecified number of flights on Saturday and Sunday to and from Washington (Reagan National, Dulles and BWI), Harrisburg, Allentown and Philadelphia, and LaGuardia and White Plains (Westchester, N.Y.) airports.
Anticipating the snow storm, Metro has canceled all weekend track maintenance work scheduled for the Red and Blue lines. That's a good move for the sake of the track workers and also the riders, who probably will be delayed enough getting around on Saturday. Also, it might provide some with an extra incentive not to travel by car -- not that they should need an extra incentive, given the forecast. Metro plans to operate trains and buses on a regular Saturday schedule. The rail system will open at 7 a.m. Saturday and closing at 3 o'clock Sunday morning. If the snow reaches eight inches, Metro may suspend above ground rail service and serve underground stations only. Metrobus and MetroAccess services are more vulnerable to the weather. There almost certainly will be detours and delays if the current forecast holds. Remember that the trains are all pulling to the head of...
Southwest Airlines said it was allowing customers at six East Coast airports to rebook tickets without penalties, a response to a heavy winter storm headed to the region over the weekend.
Pepco is reporting a power outage in Northwest Washington along Massachusetts Avenue, in the vicinity of Yuma and Tilden streets, which has knocked out traffic lights in the area, just as people are scurrying to prepare for tomorrow's snow storm
They all have battle plans, based on years of experience, so they don't have to make it up as the storm develops. Also the road agencies have been focusing more and more on anti-icing efforts -- treatments before the storms arrive -- to avoid fighting a losing campaign against heavy snow.
December 18, 2009; 12:00 PM ET |
Categories: Weather | Tags: District Department of Transportation, Dr. Gridlock, Maryland State Highway Administration, Virginia Department of Transportation, WMATA, travel tips
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Metro has put out the plan for extra airport bus service that I referred to in The Weekend and Beyond posting. Here are the details.
Metro officials warned Friday that the predicted snowstorm this weekend could lead to major detours and delays on bus routes throughout the region. If the snowfall is as heavy as predicted, "more than likely a lot of buses will not be able to go to side streets and cul-de-sacs," said Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel. "The buses can only operate as far as the road conditions" allow. The Capital Weather Gang's accumulation map shows that snow totals could exceed 14 inches in some areas of the region. The rail system will operate on a regular Saturday schedule, but snow on the aboveground portions of the track could lead to some delays, Taubenkibel said. Metro personnel are readying equipment for snow removal on platforms, outside train stations, and at garages. In addition, the transit agency will likely run empty trains throughout the night to keep the rails warm and prevent a buildup...
The District's Snow Team -- the Departments of Transportation and Public Works -- just put out some good advice for residents and travelers across the region in advance of the predicted snow storm.
In some ways, planning Christmas week getaways is easier, and in others more complicated. John Townsend of AAA Mid-Atlantic says his group's annual survey of travel plans found that almost four of every 10 people in the Washington area plans to travel 50 miles or more from home by automobile during the 12 days of Christmas, despite the weak economy and higher gas prices than a year ago. That would be make this the busiest travel season of the year. But there probably won't be days as intense as the Wednesday before Thanksgiving or the Sunday after. Many travelers are options to spread out Christmas travel that aren't available at Thanksgiving. Still, that can make the decision-making more difficult. Consider these issues and advisories. -- Snow. Today, good for a getaway. Saturday, very bad. Many people have stored away this week and next for a trip. Keep an eye on...
Snow changes everything: It would be best to get holiday shopping done late Friday rather than on Saturday. Launch the holiday getaway Friday or put it on hold for a day. Metro and the Washington region's transportation agencies are preparing now for the storm. Some of the road work now scheduled for the weekend will likely be postponed.
Today's Post had several stories of top interest to travelers, but the news wasn't so good.
Update (7:30 a.m.): If you're out with your camera this weekend and want to share fabulous photos of the snow, you can send them to us here. Update (7:05 a.m.): The Capital Weather Gang says we've been upgraded from a winter storm watch to a winter storm warning. That's in effect from midnight tonight to 6 a.m. Sunday. Make your preparations throughout the day. Here's a map showing potential accumulations. Original post: The Capital Weather Gang is predicting that the Washington area could be in for a big snow event this week and we're under a winter storm watch. You may have already started thinking about what you need to do to prepare around the house. Snow shovel at the ready? Check. Supplies of hot chocolate in the cupboard? Check. Dug the kids' sled out of the basement for some weekend fun? Check. But don't forget that there are things...
6:45 A.M. UPDATE: The traffic was caused by overnight lane closures that spanned into the morning rush, creating problems on I-495 (both north and southbound) at I-66. All I-495 North lanes at I-66 opened up by 6:20 a.m. By 6:30 a.m., the I-495 South lanes were open south of I-66. The I-495 South area from Route 7 to I-66 has just one lane open, though it's expected to reopen within the next few minutes. But the residual delays will hang around for a while -- all of that traffic built up and had nowhere to go. So be advised, if you commute in this area, expect to see traffic for a while. There were construction delays in connecting pieces needed to hold steel beams in place (part of the new bridge for Route 29). This necessitated keeping the cranes out there longer, which necessitated the traffic cones being out longer,...
Beltway/Route 29 Thursday night and Friday night and again on the nights of Dec. 21, 22 and 23, all four lanes on I-495 south at the Lee Highway (Route 29) overpass will close for up to half an hour several times from midnight to 5 a.m., VDOT says. The temporary closures will allow crews to install steel beams for a new bridge over the Capital Beltway that is part of the HOT lanes project. The I-66 east and west exit ramps to I-495 south will also close all night beginning at 11 on those nights, and motorists will be detoured. Lane-closure setup on I-495 south will start at 9:30 p.m., and as traffic volumes decrease, additional lanes will be closed. All lanes will close for up to half an hour after midnight until 5 a.m....
Crowded trains and buses are likely to get more crowded if the budget-balancing recommendations of General Manager John B. Catoe Jr. are approved by the Metro board on Jan. 7 Riders would not have eight car trains. The peak period turnbacks at Grosvenor on the Red Line would be eliminated. These are some key elements of a plan unveiled Thursday afternoon to deal with what now amounts to a $40 million shortfall in the current Metro budget. What went wrong: "We overestimated the ridership for this year," Catoe said. The revenue impact is greater on the rail side, even though the decline is less there than on bus. It costs more to ride the trains. The service changes, if made, would account for less than 10 percent of the total shortfall. The bigger impact of the recommendations comes in delaying preventive maintenance. Among the potential service cuts: -- Hours of...
A traveler asked during Monday's online discussion if I knew when the construction on Spring Hill Road in Tysons Corner would be done. It must be part of the Dulles Metrorail project, right?
The IRS has granted a one-year extension in the new system for assigning SmartBenefits that caused so much confusion this fall. But Metro is moving ahead with other changes affecting how riders used their SmarTrip electronic fare cards.
Metro faces what may be its worst ever financial situation, and board members envision a point in early 2010 when they will have to go to the public with proposals to raise fares and cut service. Today, several of them expressed frustration that Metro still doesn't know what federal investigators think caused the fatal June 22 crash on the Red Line.
"We have a battle in front of us," General Manager John B. Catoe said in a statement to board members at the start of today's board meetings. It's a battle, he said, to win back public confidence in mass transit. "If people don't feel safe, we won't have riders."
December 17, 2009; 9:21 AM ET |
Categories: Metro , Safety | Tags: Chief Michael Taborn, Dr. Gridlock, Federal Transit Administration, John B. Catoe Jr., Tri-State Oversight Committee
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Beltway HOT lanes Lots of work overnight from 9:30 p.m. Wednesday to 5 a.m. Thursday. Lanes closed: -- Three right lanes of I-495 south at Exit 51, Gallows Rd. (Route 650) for bridge work. -- Two lanes of Arlington Blvd. (Route 50) west at I-495 for bridge work. Road closed: -- Lee Highway (Route 29) south at I-495 for waterline installation. -- I-495 north and south at Lewinsville Road overpass for up to 30 minutes at a time to begin after midnight. Ramp closed: -- I-495 north collector distributor road at Exit 54 Braddock Rd. (Route 620) and ramp to Braddock Rd. west for steel beam erection. -- Ramp from Braddock Rd. (Route 620) east to I-495 north for steel beam erection. -- Ramp from Arlington Blvd. (Route 50) west to I-495 south for bridge work. -- Ramp from Gallows Rd. (Route 650) north to I-495 south. Dulles Metrorail project...
District Department of Transportation Director Gabe Klein will participate in a live online chat Friday at 2:30 pm. You can check out the chat at ddot.dc.gov/livechat.
There's a possibility of snow this weekend, so keep your eye on the forecast and be prepared when you hit the roads and the rails.
Metro reports that trains are single-tracking between Shady Grove and Twinbrook stations. There is a report of smoke outside Rockville station, the transit agency said in an alert. .
A stretch of Interstate 95 in Northern Virginia that is notorious for its bad traffic got wider as of today, with the addition of a fourth northbound lane between Occoquan and Springfield. This is one of the few improvements I can think of to our transportation system during 2009. Given that we are one of the most traffic-congested regions in the nation, we should be doing better.
Metro announced this morning that the Morgan Boulevard Station, the closest one to FedEx Field, will stay open an extra hour on Monday, Dec. 21, and Sunday, Dec. 27., to accommodate fans leaving the next two Redskins games.
All lanes of 1-95 NB are now open. The right shoulder is closed.
Trafficland and NewsChannel 8 report that two lanes are blocked on the Capital Beltway southbound lanes in Maryland near the Greenbelt Metro Station. Traffic cameras show that delays are beginning to build.
The accident on Leesburg Pike eastbound has been cleared. Expect delays to continue. Volume throughout the area remains heavy.
Arlington County emergeny officials are reporting two significant disruptions to traffic this morning. At the eastbound U.S. 50 exit ramp to Washington Boulevard, the left lane is shut down due to a water main break. At North Carlin Springs Road and North George Mason, a flipped vehicle near the intersection has caused significant traffic delays.
Eastbound Maryland Route 410 at U.S. 50 is closed due to an accident involving a tractor-trailer, with a fuel spill. Traffic is being diverted to U.S. 50.
HOV enforcement will be stepped up Wednesday from 6 to 9 a.m. on Interstates 66, 95 and 395, and the Dulles Toll Road. Inside the Capita Beltway, Virginia State Police will be joined by Arlington and Fairfax County officers and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority police.
Beltway in Maryland The paving project on the Capital Beltway between the Legion Bridge and Interstate 270 continues, though the main lanes are done. Watch for ramp closings from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. through Thursday night. Metro week night work Metro night time maintenance will add 20 to 30 minutes to trip times on sections of the Red, Blue and Orange lines through Thursday. On the Red Line, the work is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. between Medical Center and Grosvenor. On the Blue Line, it's scheduled to start at 9:30 p.m. between Stadium-Armory and Addison Road. On the Orange Line, it's scheduled to start at 9:30 p.m. between Cheverly and New Carrollton. The start time is only a guideline. Metro will feel free to start the work earlier if it wants to....
Further progress on a major road project in Montgomery County: This weekend, a new phase of the interchange at Rockville Pike/Randolph Road and Montrose Parkway is scheduled to open.
A fourth lane along a traffic-choked three-mile section of northbound I-95 will be available to commuters on Wednesday morning, the Virginia Department of Transportation says. This is the first pay off from the I-95 widening project between Springfield and Occoquan.
Metro reports that there are Red Line delays because of a switch malfunction at Medical Center. Travelers toward Glenmont should expect delays.
Completion of the Chain Bridge reconstruction has been pushed back from January to mid-February.
What a difference a day makes. There isn't much fog in the area this morning, and the commutes seem to be progressing smoothly. The traffic maps are showing few accidents, and Metro isn't reporting any delays.
Beltway/Telegraph Road The milling and repaving that the Wilson Bridge originally scheduled for overnight tonight and Tuesday daytime was postponed. This is the new schedule. From 9 p.m. Tuesday to 5 a.m. Wednesday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday: Telegraph Road north ramp to the inner loop closed. Take Huntington Avenue east to Route 1 north to the ramp to the inner loop. From 9 p.m. Wednesday to 5 a.m. Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday: Outer Loop loop ramp to Telegraph Road north closed. Take Huntington Avenue east to Route 1 north to the ramp to the inner loop to Telegraph Road north. Beltway potholes The inner loop lanes on Cameron Run Bridge will be getting emergency repairs Tuesday through Thursday nights. The hours each night are 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. each night. During those hours, the inner loop will be narrowed down...
North American Aerospace Defense Command is planning exercise flights over the Washington area to begin around midnight and continue into the early hours of Tuesday.
On April 23, D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Transportation Director Gabe Klein announced that the reconstruction of Benning Road -- that awful, perpetually torn up commuter route to the east of downtown -- would get back on track and be done by mid-December. Today, the mayor announced that the work is substantially done.
A new highway interchange in Frederick is intended to create a faster connection between Interstate 70 and the city's downtown area.
I think the top transportation story of the previous week was the management shakeup at Metro. See the story by Lena H. Sun. I wrote about Metro's troubled year in my Dr. Gridlock column on Sunday, and The Post had an editorial on Sunday talking about the future of General Manager John B. Catoe Jr. (So you've got three different perspectives: A news story describing what happened, a column in which I get to interpret developments and an editorial expressing the opinion of The Post.) This is an important time for Metro and it's riders. The transit authority is in deep financial trouble, typical of many governments, and many households across the nation. I plan to talk about the potential impact on riders on next Sunday's Commuter page. But today, please bring all your traffic and transit issues to our discussion. Here's the link to the chat. Use this one...
Commuters are unlikely to face major weather problems around Washington this week, but there are some lane closings and transit work that could slow things down.
This morning's dense fog advisory was scheduled to expire at 9 a.m., but accidents continue to make the morning commute a challenge