Shutdown expected to bring early rush hour starting at noon

October 1, 2013

The morning commute on area roads has been just as crowded as a typical Tuesday morning, according to a regional traffic monitoring system, as federal workers headed to the office to secure work stations and wrap up e-mail.

“Our biggest concern is after noon,” said Valerie Weeks, an operator for  the Metropolitan Area Transportation Operations Coordination (MATOC) program, as she monitored traffic cameras and Web sites from her College Park office.

An extended afternoon rush period is expected to start between noon and 1 p.m., she said, as workers head home early. There might be a slight lull between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., she said, before private employers let out as usual starting around 4 p.m.

Metro said Tuesday that it will not run rush-hour level service at mid-day, even with many workers leaving early.

Weeks said she can usually detect an overall anxiety in a morning commute, such as before an impending snowstorm, when volumes pick up early along with accidents from people in a rush.

“I expected it to be pretty crazy,” Weeks said, “but no one seemed too upset.”


Katherine Shaver is a transportation and development reporter. She joined The Washington Post in 1997 and has covered crime, courts, education and local government but most prefers writing about how people get — or don’t get — around the Washington region.
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