Evening commute just as much of a mess as the morning in D.C.

By Michael E. Ruane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 12, 2010; 10:49 PM

The roads, down to one lane in some areas because of unplowed snow, were jammed. The Metro, having endured a mid-morning commuting catastrophe, was plagued by an evening ride home that crawled at a snail's pace.

Federal workers returned to work Friday -- and many likely wished they hadn't.

Following the morning derailment of a Red Line train just outside the Farragut North station, downtown continued its meltdown. Delays were reported on the Orange and Blue lines. The homebound trip was in places bumper-to-bumper madness.

Motorist Katherine Lewis sat for an hour in the 1700 block of S Street NW around 6 p.m. Ahead of her, she said by phone, a Metro bus was stuck in the snow. A police car blocked her access to the southbound lanes of 18th Street NW. She and a dozen other motorists headed in her direction were going nowhere.

"We can't get out," she said. "Send help."

Fifteenth Street NW was jammed downtown with motorists backed up trying to get out of their parking garages.

The Metro was running after the mid-morning Red Line derailment, but passengers reported packed trains.

Traffic cameras of Interstate 95 southbound in Springfield showed lanes jammed with headlights of motorists stalled after a morning trip that AAA described as "the commute from hell."

The Beltway east of the American Legion Bridge was an almost unbroken line of headlights and taillights -- motorists seeking refuge in opposite directions.

Kim Frum, a spokeswoman for the Maryland State Highway Administration, said things were slow on major Maryland highways around Washington but traffic seemed to be moving.

She noted that federal government workers were allowed to come to work late Friday morning. "Everybody now is going home at the regular time," she said. "It looks like a pretty regular rush hour."

Try telling that to the people stuck in their cars and on Metro.

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