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Posted at 3:13 PM ET, 01/27/2011

Share your #disastercommute story

By James Buck

Below: Stories from our readers

Stories from our readers

Sorry to hear so many people got stuck. Curious that after a full day's notice of coming bad weather, no one took it seriously. What part of "snowstorm during the evening commute" did people not understand? Schools were closed, or closed early, and most folks should have heeded the warning and headed home early. I know not eveyone could have done this, but if those that could, had done so, it would have made life a lot easier for those who were not able to leave early. Think of your fellow commuters the next time you decide to stay when you could leave.
I left Industrial Avenue in Springfield at 4 p.m., headed for Oakton. Made it to Little River Turnpike from Backlick Road at 5:15 p.m. (1:15 so far). It took from 5:15 until 7 p.m. to get down Little River Turnpike to the intersection with Woodland, which is about 1/2 mile before the Beltway. I waited there, stopped in a solid line of traffic until 9 p.m., when I made a U-Turn, went all the way back to Gallows and Little River. I took Gallows north, past Rte 50, which was impassable outbound, past Rte 29, which likewise was impassable, and made a left off Gallows into the residential streets off Cedar Lane. That got me into Vienna and Rte 123, and I made it home by 11:30 p.m., a 7.5 hour commute all tolled. Abandoned car, no power (so no street lights), no police, no plows ... just me and tons of people who have no idea how to drive in the snow.
Tried to come home to Rockville from Richmond. Left at 2:30 in Richmond, pulled into my workplace in McLean on my last gallon of gas at 6:30. Slept in the office and drove home this morning after getting gas in Tyson's and driving slalom around all the abandoned cars on Rt123. yay!
Didn't get stuck. Read CWG, left work in Chantilly about 3PM, home in Falls Church by 4PM.
Although my commute wasn't as severe as others, it was rough. I metro-ed from Friendship Heights to Franconia-Springfield in a little less than an hour, so I was excited. Until I got into my car, and realized not only were the roads gridlocked, so was the parking garage!! I waited 2 1/2 hours just to get out of the parking garage. No one was moving, it almost made you feel like no one was leaving. Thankfully, it only took me another hour to get to home once I exited the parking garage. Besides, I will take my 4 hours versus other's 8+ hours any day!
I set out from Baltimore for my home in Fair Lakes at 3 p.m., and had it luckier than most -- arriving exactly 9 hours later. I made it almost to the American Legion bridge before I hit the major slowdowns.

In Virginia, I spent two hours merging onto 66 westbound. It was actually moving, there, until I lined up to merge onto 7100. Once we got within half a mile of the exit, things just stopped dead. We waited for an hour, people getting out of their cars, talking, some walking forward to see what the problem was. It turned out a Metrobus had skewed sideways and blocked both exit lanes -- nothing could get through.

A cop had been stranded with us, and saved the day. He started organizing anybody who was willing into digging teams to try and free the wheels of the bus. Once we freed it, it moved forward a bit and slid. We freed it a second time, and it straightened out before getting stuck again. For our third round of digging, we simply cleared a lane to get past the now-straightened bus, and the exit was reopened.

It was kind of a block party atmosphere: everyone standing around chatting, commisserating, swapping numbers of hours in the car, strategizing on moving stalled vehicles, etc. Everybody pulled together and got busy -- we'd been cooped up in our cars long enough! -- and after an hour of digging we had something to show for it. The Metro area commute is often notorious for being cut-throat; it was impressive to see such cooperation and camaraderie.
I was stuck on a bus on CT avenue for six hours. After the bus got stuck on East West Highway, we got out and walked the last couple miles home. In total, a commute that should take 20 minutes took 7 hours. We couldn't walk earlier because of all the idiots who thought their four wheel drive meant they could drive fast and were spinning out.
Trapped in total gridlock for 5 hours on Rt. 50 west bridge over Rt 66.
Bethesda to South Riding - only 5hrs and 40 min. Left at 3:30pm. It was crazy. Too many abandoned cars caused lane closures.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011 10PM

Good evening, and I hope that everybody got home safely today. I know I've just arrived home now, at took me 7 hours...and I didn't even get to my car... 

Dulles toll road was a parking lot...after one hour on the subway, we were stuck on the bus for 5 hours for what was supposed to be a 16 minutes ride ... passengers had to push the cars around the bus that were stuck in the snow, so we could slowly take the ramp to the airport lanes...that took us 4 hours....when we finally drove slowly on the airport lanes we passed the cars parked on the toll road and we saw why nothing moved for 4 hours on the toll road: a trailer truck was on diagonal blocking all the lanes, and in front of it there was another trailer truck, a couple of buses and about 30 cars all stuck in the snow in different directions...we were all applauding and encouraging the Loudoun County Commuter bus driver every time we managed to avoid a difficult area and pass all the cars stuck on the side of the road, and especially on the exit ramps....the bus got stuck a few time too, but somehow the driver managed to backtrack and keep on going...The bus did not take us back where we left the cars in the morning, but brought us in the neighborhood and I had to walk another hour in the snow almost to my knees all the way son took the dog and a flash light and walked to meet me half way and we walked back home together.

Nothing felt so good as a hot cup of tea and a warm blanket on the sofa, by the fireplace!!!! Even the dog who loved the walk in the snow was really happy to be finally back home... All is well when it ends well, I made it safely home but my car is still left in the snow at the bus station where I left it in the morning. Today's commute home was sure a trip to remember... 

Best wishes, and have a safe and pleasant evening..
Left Rockville at 4:00, pulled into driveway at Burke at 9:40. Abandoned cars, no MDot or VDot trucks anywhere.
The Fairfax Connector 505 bus arrived at Reston Town Center 15 minutes late and after sitting on the bus for 30 minutes and it slowly filling up to capacity the driver announced it was not going anywhere. I went back to have dinner at Jackson's in the Town Center and then to my office to sleep on the couch. Power to RTC went out around 2100 and was out until around midnight. Heat goes off in the building at night and comes back on at 0700. But hey, I woke up and did not have to commute to work today!
My wife, Holly, works in McLean. We live in Arlington on Columbia pike. According to google maps, the most direct driving route between the two is 10.1 miles.

She left work at 4PM yesterday. She drove home, making no stops and taking no detours (meaning she did nothing to artificially increase her travel time) and arrived outiside our door at 11:35PM. She had successfully traveled the 10 miles in 7 hours and 35 minutes.

If Tommy Lee Jones' 4 mph estimation of footspeed from the Fugitive would've been at all accurate last night, Holly could've made the trip 3 times on foot in the 7+ hours it took her to drive.
Left Rockville at 5:30pm. It took me 2 hours last night to get from 355 to the 270N exit on montrose road. Once I got there the exit was blocked by numerous vehicles. I made my way to Lifetime Fitness on Seven Locks. Just as I got to the front door the power went out. But they let me in. So thank you to them. An hour later I headed out again. Cars were abandoned everywhere. It took another 2 hours to merge onto 270. More cars abandoned in the middle of 270N. Luckily I had a gallon of milk and chocolate chip cookies in the car! Watched a little tv on my phone. phone died. Saw a police car disabled on 270. Btw, where did the people who abandoned their cars go? Finally reach Germantown Exit. Totally clogged and not moving. Decided to try Father Hurley instead. Oh my God! Relief at last. The exit was open and clear. Got on Father Hurley. Arrived at home at 12:00am. Walked in my house with great relief only to be met by my boyfriend who was very angry and didn't believe that it took me 7 1/2 hrs to get home. Obviously he didn't turn on the news. Whatever. I'm finally here and I'm staying put! Debi Baker
Fairfax Connector services left 1000 people stranded at West Falls Church. What made the situation so frustrating when no buses showed up for 2 hours before operations were completely suspended was the LACK OF COMMUNICATION from the company. No workers provided any information to customers on site and calls to the office resulted in a 20 minutes hold before being entirely disconnected. Taxi cab numbers were busy as well, for the mostpart ... with the exception of someone who got thru only to learn there would be a 3-hour delay for requested service. I found several people at my work this morning who were also stranded and had spent the night at the office.
After arriving from New York City on the train and dropping a colleague off in Woodley Park, I left NW DC at 3:00 pm bound for my home in Centreville. Trying to avoid downtown, I headed west on River Road. From 4:15 until 9:30, I was stuck on the River Road/495 interchange. I finally made it to 66 where it took 3 1/2 hours to get to Centreville. Arrived at 2:30 am -- total of 11 1/2 hours!
8 hrs from Sterling to Rosslyn...saw many trucks/cars spinning tires and closing exit/entrance ramps onto 495, chain bridge rd, etc. So many stranded cars!
Our Metrobus driver missed the Little River Turnpike exit off of southbound 395 and we ended up on the Beltway! The Braddock Road exit was closed, so we had to exit at the far end of Little River Turnpike - 4 hours later! On the plus side, fellow passengers were calm and jovial. On the negative side, bus driver agreed to let passengers off ON 495 (!) who wanted to walk. So dangerous!!!
EIGHT HOURS. Left downtown DC at 5 got home to Burtonsville at 1:15 am. Took hour and a half just just sitting in downtown Silver Spring. Almost got stuck about a million times. Helped one woman move her car. Two men helped me out of a jam. People stood up to the challenge.
My wife was 1/4 mile from home on Braddock Road in a complete standstill gridlock, and could not get to our street. I walked out to the car to meet her, and drove west on the eastbound lane to get home. Mission Accomplished, but I felt bad for setting a terrible was either that, or possibly leave the car..
After sitting on 270 which had been closed for hours, I finally get to the Shady Grove exit and see thesnow plows are blocking the highway, just sitting there smoking cigarettes. To add insult to injury, we were forced onto the express lanes then back to 270 (unplowed) to make it home to Gaithersburg. Someone needs to loose their job over this nightmare! 4 hours to drive home from Bethesda?
3 Hours from Dupont Circle to Scott St. in Arlington. What I couldn't understand was the Memorial Bridge and circles around the Lincoln Monument being wide open. What a tease! I may have pushed 15 different cars last night trying to get up the hill at Route 27 coming off 395.
The centreville, virginia area around route 28 was an apocalypse yesterday. I was stuck on 66 eastbound for 5+1/2 hours between the centerville and 28 northbound exit yesterday. I left work at 6:00PM and got about 2000 ft in 5 1/2 hours. 

When I finally made it past the route 28 exit Virginia had not even started plowed the interstate that far west by midnight. So I had to turn around and head back to work because people were driving through almost 1 foot of snow near fairfax. 

So I got back on the lee highway to head back to centreville and ALL the overpasses and hills where covered with about 2 inches of solid ice with around 10-20 cars either abandoned or running into each other trying to get up the hills. 

When I got back to work around 1 am there was no power in the building nor anywhere else in the area. Therefore I decided to wait 30 minutes and try it again.

By 1:30 AM 66 had been plowed good enough to try to get home. 495 northbound was pretty clear at that time, but I noticed a huge line of cars trying to go southbound. Basically all of 495 from 270 to the bridge was solid at 2:00-2:30 AM. 

On my way up 270 I got stuck behind salt truck that were moving at 10 mph. So it too me another hour to get up 270. When I finally got to my exit, at Middlebrook, there were about 8 abandoned cars in the offramp, but it looked passable so I decided to risk it. I drove by the cars and at the top of the ramp was a jack knifed tractor trailor and a disabled rideon bus, plus 2 other people that had become trapped because there was no police to warn people off the exit ramp. 

I helped the others back out their cars and then I was able to finally get home at 3:30 AM. 

When I arrived home, none of the parking spaces where ploughed, so I had to wake up my wife get a shovel and plough out a parking space for the car. Finally at about 4-4:30 AM I was able to get some sleep.
I left work at 17th and G, NW at 4:15 to go home to Falls Church via Rt. 50. Got out of DC OK but Rt. 50 was a scary parking lot. After 3 hours I had only gone two miles. I stopped at a shopping plaze to use the bathroom and eat, hoping that things would improve but, 45 minutes later, things were worse. I finally made it home at midnight, so a 7 hour commute to drive 10 miles.
6.5 hours to get from L St. NW to Columbia, MD. 6 hours just to go up 16th Ave to get to 495.
$188 dollar towing fee. All because MD can't put one darn plow on I-270. And all I heard on the news last night was excuses. Disheartening.
Route 50 at West Ox Road in Virginia (38.868382,-77.364521) 4.5 hours to go from 66 West past multi-car accident under West Ox. Two tractor-trailers and 20 or so rear-wheel drive BMWs.
arrived at Silver Spring Metro at 630 and got car. Could not get up Wayne or Colesville North b/c of hills and stuck/sliding cars and lights out. Roads weren't THAT slippery just crowded and blocked. Turned off onto Dale and into side street and parked on side of road out of way of resident's driveways and with plenty of room for plow to go by. Walked mile+ home. Lots of downed trees and power lines to dodge.

By James Buck  | January 27, 2011; 3:13 PM ET
Categories:  Traffic and Transportation  
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