Leftover Snow, Fed Delay Sends Traffic Into Tailspin

Two more hours to get to work may not be helpful

The latest round of snow to harass the D.C. area was more pest than problem, but it gave federal workers an extra two hours to get to work Tuesday -- or, as some might see it, two more hours to snarl up the morning commute.

Traffic was backed up on several main arteries in the city, including Wisconsin Avenue NW and New York Avenue NE, and along routes from Maryland and Virginia into the District.

For many, it still is a rough rush hour, according to Jerry Edwards from the NBC4 Traffic Network.

"I-395 northbound is still crawling before Edsall Road to the 14th Street Bridge, and the George Washington Parkway from Old Town Alexandria north is a parking lot," Edwards reported.

The overnight snow cleanup didn't seem to help either, according to NBC4 viewer Ken Ambrose.

"Overnight crews have turned Wisconsin Avenue from two lanes into one by leaving 10-foot tall piles of snow in the middle lane," he wrote.

Between snow and ice still covering some roads in the region, schools opening on time or on delay, and more people going back to work Tuesday, getting through it all created a Friday déjà vu.

After giving non-emergency and non-telecommuting employees the first four days off last week because of two blizzards, the federal government let its workers arrive two hours late on Friday. It was one of the worst commuting days in D.C. history.

Lanes that narrow and disappear because of snow, Metrobuses that can not get to the curb and end up blocking traffic and sidewalks that are not shoveled leading pedestrians to walk in the roads, as noted by WTOP, were other factors contributing to the backup -- and are likely to do so in the days that follow.

For most of the folks who took Metro into downtown DC, it was a smooth ride, NBC4's Tracee Wilkins reported.  But not so much for those taking the Red Line. A train malfunction at Union Station -- that has since been resolved -- caused delays to Glenmont.

Federal workers do have an out today: if they just can't get to work, unscheduled leave will be permitted.

Emergency employees and telecommuters, however, are expected to start on time.

Also, while many area school systems opened two hours late Tuesday as the dig-out continues, some remain closed, including Alexandria city. Superintendent Mort Sherman announced Monday afternoon that he had reversed his earlier decision to open schools. He said "sidewalks and streets are still unsafe in many places" and that students would be forced too often to walk in the streets, dodging cars and snowplows.

Schools in Montgomery, Fairfax and Arlington counties were open on a two-hour delay.

Like the D.C. government, D.C. Public Schools opened on time.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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