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Roadways treacherous for travel

Airports | Amtrak | Buses | Capital Weather Gang | D.C. snow emergency | Plowing plans | Rails | Snow removal | Live traffic

12:30 p.m. Update: Authorities say I-66 westbound has reopened.

12:25 a.m. update: VDOT is reporting multiple disabled vehicles on I-495 northbound in Fairfax.

12:21 a.m. VDOT just tweeted this: Stay home if possible. If you must drive, be especially careful on bridges and overpasses, as ice may form more quickly in these areas.

12:10 a.m. Update: Addison Road South at Ronald Road in Capitol Heights is closed due to a large tree in the road.

12:05 a.m. Update: In Montgomery County, residents are instructed to call the Storm Operations Center at 240-777-6000 to report downed trees on public property.

Midnight Update: The problems just keep building as the snow flies. Trees and limbs are falling and causing major problems in Northern Virginia and the District.

VDOT reports several trees blocking roadways in the Springfield area, while falling limbs have brought down powerlines in Arlington, officials said.

In the District, multiple trees crashed down on parked cars in the area of the 1600 block of Riggs Place in Northwest.

Firefighters had to respond to two apartment buildings in Southeast, one in the 3500 block of B Street and another nearby at 126 35th Street, where trees uprooted or snapped in half and fell on the structures, said Pete Piringer, a fire department spokesman. No injuries were reported and as of midnight authorities were assessing whether the trees caused in structural damage to the buildings.

11:55 p.m. Update Trafficland is reporting an accident on the Dulles Toll Road westbound at I-495. Some of the toll booths are blocked. Earlier tonight, an intrepid traveler reported that tolls were still being collected on the route.

11:50 p.m. Update: Trafficland reports that a jacknifed tractor-trailer is blocking one lane of I-66 eastbound near Route 17 west of the Plains. There are no traffic cameras in the vicinity, so we can't take a look.

11:30 p.m. Update: According to Trafficland, snow is blocking the westbound lanes of 1-66. Traffic cameras show the interstate covered in snow. There is an occasional car in the eastbound lanes.

11:15 p.m. Update: Virginia authorities shut down westbound I-66 from Rosslyn to the Beltway just after 11 p.m. so snow plows could safely clear the road, Virginia State police said.

11:05 p.m. Update: In Maryland, a car ran into a plowing truck on Edmonston Road in the Hyattsville/College Park area. It was unclear whether anyone was injured.

On the other side of the Beltway, Virginia State Police reported that through 10 p.m. troopers were sent to the scene of 1,076 crashes and 766 disabled vehicles.

10:55 p.m. Update: Around 9:30 p.m. stalled tractor trailers shut down the ramp leading from the Capital Beltway's outer loop to westbound Route 50, Maryland state police said.

-- Martin Weil

10:40 p.m. Update: Outside Get There Central, 15th Street NW is totally covered in snow. The snow hangs in clumps in all of the trees and is piled on a smattering of cars that weren't moved when the District declared its snow emergency. It's not a friendly scene.

Traffic cameras around the region tell a similar story. The snow seems to be falling faster than plows can keep up, and with traffic light, even the interstates are covered in snow.

9:50 p.m.: VDOT pleads in a tweet: "Please stay home."

9:40 p.m. Update: The Virginia Department of Transportation is tweeting road conditions as 511northernva.

Original post: Accumulating snow is causing accidents across the region. Efforts to keep the roads clear are gradually being overcome by wind-blown snow that is falling heavier.

With at least three inches already on the ground, traffic on repeatedly plowed Rockville Pike between the Grosvenor and White Flint Metro stations was very light and cars were moving comfortably at 30 mph against a sideways snowfall. The snow was thick and heavy and clumping between barely visible lanes. By the time drivers hit their subdivisions they found much more difficult going on unplowed, slippery streets. Hills were becoming far more difficult to negotiate and fishtailing on curves was common.

A survey of traffic cameras across the area show roads that are covered in several inches of snow and sparse traffic. Most transit agencies, including Metro, Ride On, the DC Circulator and the Fairfax Connector, suspended service as the roads became too treacherous for travel.

Some of the trouble spots: an accident on the I-270 Spur southbound at Old Georgetown Road; a disabled car on I-495 southbound at Gallows Road; an abandoned vehicle on I-495 northbound at I-66; an accident at I-495 northbound at Connecticut Avenue; and the 3rd Street Tunnel, which was closed after the dumpbed of a salt truck struck the roof of the tunnel; and an accident on I-95 northbound at Route 123; .

Metrorail announced that it would stop servicing its 39 above-ground stations at 11 p.m., anticipating that the rapdily falling snow would cover the electrified third rail at a depth of more than 8 inches and interfere with the ability to power the trains.

-- From staff reports

By Michael Bolden  |  February 5, 2010; 8:45 PM ET
Categories:  Advisories , Metro , Weather , highways  | Tags: transit, travel tips  
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There's currently a tractor-trailer sideways at Cathedral and Connecticut in Woodley Park. It appears he was trying to turn up Cathedral - a road that a tractor trailor doesn't belong on under good conditions. He's been sideways across the road for almost 30 mins, and cars are now struggling to get around him due to icy spots underneath the snow (that were a problem earlier too).

Posted by: DCMike1 | February 6, 2010 1:10 AM | Report abuse

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