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Road conditions deteriorating

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

Stay home this evening. Snow and ice have made it hazardous to drive on local streets and on highways. The snowfall is obscuring some of the icy patches and snow packs that lurk beneath. The snow bergs that obscure views at intersections are only getting bigger.

Road crews will work through the night. If you are out, give that equipment plenty of room to plow and treat the roadways. There's not much room left for the plows to push snow, so drivers may find lanes have narrowed. It doesn't make sense to get ahead of the plows. They're preparing a path for you.

The Virginia Department of Transportation reported icy conditions emerging on roads throughout Northern Virginia. Snow is sticking on roads with lower traffic volumes, and Interstates and primary roads are becoming deceptively slick, VDOT said.

More than 2,000 trucks will continue to plow and treat Northern Virginia's Interstates and other major routes through the night, as well as the neighborhood streets that remain impassable from the weekend storm. VDOT crews and trucks from Hampton Roads, Richmond, Salem, Lynchburg and Culpeper have arrived in Northern Virginia to help attack this new storm.

The District
A snow emergency went into effect at 4 p.m. Tuesday. That means all vehicles must be moved immediately from snow emergency routes so they can be salted and plowed. The routes are posted with red and white snow emergency route signs.

Owners of cars parked illegally on those routes are subject to a $250 fine and additional fees for towing and storage at an impoundment lot. To locate a towed vehicle, call 202-727-5000.

The District has identified parking spaces at the DC USA rental center at 14th Street and Park Road NW for people who can't find parking on the streets. The entrance to the garage is on Park Road.

The Circulator bus has shut down for the night and will not operate on Wednesday. Metrobus will not operate. Metrorail will serve only the underground stations.

The State Highway Administration, like the region's other transportation departments, urges people to stay off the roads.

The Maryland highway crews are focused on moving snow with front end loaders, replenishing supplies and fueling up trucks, the SHA said. They already have treated bridges, ramps, curves and hills with salt brine to prevent ice from bonding to the surface.

"SHA will do everything we can to keep one lane passable during the upcoming blizzard," SHA Administrator Neil J. Pedersen said in a statement. "With 50 mile per hour winds forecast, driving will be extremely dangerous. We need people to heed the warnings and stay home."

SHA maintains the numbered, non-toll routes in Maryland, the ones labeled as interstates, U.S. or MD highways. Counties and cities maintain other roads, including neighborhood streets.

Because the weekend storm sapped so much materiel, SHA is redistributing salt supplies among nearly 30 maintenance shops from terminals at the Port of Baltimore. On Tuesday, crews used front end loaders to make room for additional accumulation.

Snow is coming down so quickly Tuesday night that if you're out on the highways, you may wonder where the plow is. They're working. Each SHA team is assigned to plow and salt routes of 20 to 25 miles. It can take a plow driver up to two hours to complete a route, including reloading salt.

By Robert Thomson  |  February 9, 2010; 10:00 PM ET
Categories:  Advisories , Weather  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, snowstorm, tips for travelers  
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