The Washington Post

Accident on Route 50, Metro cancels bus service for the day, Reagan runways closed

Updated at 12:43 p.m.

A tractor trailer carrying tomatoes overturned on U.S. Route 50 eastbound in Prince George’s County, shutting down all lanes near Lottsford Vista Road in Lanham.

The truck is leaking diesel fuel and at least one person is injured, fire officials said.

Maryland State Police are also on the scene as crews work to pick the truck up off its side and off load material, authorities said. Traffic is being directed to the right shoulder during the clean up.

Authorities said the driver of the tractor trailer was sent to the hospital. His injuries were not considered serious.

Updated at 11:56 a.m.

All runways at Reagan Airport are closed.

Updated at 10:29 a.m.

Metro announced that it will cancel all of its bus service throughout the region for the entire day because of the snow.

Original post at 8 a.m.

Monday morning’s commute had one thing going for it: Fewer people were on the major roadways in the D.C. region as highway crews dealt with freezing rain and snow on roads.

Metrobus shut down its services Monday morning and its door-to-door service for those with disabilities because of the winter storm. And most local bus transportation services were also out of operation for the day. Most schools and the federal government, along with local government and court offices, closed for the day.

The commuter rail lines of VRE and MARC were not operating and Amtrak was running its trains on an abbreviated schedule.

Metro’s rail line was running on time, but authorities there said they were monitoring the situation and would make adjustments as needed. Just before 10 a.m., Metro’s busy Red Line reported a track problem at its Bethesda station but the situation was resolved in less than 10 minutes. Trains briefly shared a track.

With bus service suspended many offices closed, Metro reported light commuter traffic as subway stations during the morning commute stood almost as quiet as museums.

Brian Seelagy, 26, an investment consultant, looked out a window this morning, saw the snow and figured he’d go to work anyway.

It’s a personal choice,” he said, headed into the Courthouse station for a short Orange Line ride to Ballston. Glancing around at the almost empty station, he smiled and said, “I don’t mind this at all.”

Waiting for a Blue Line train at the Rosslyn station,legal secretary Beverly Needham, 41, bound for Alexandria, said, “You’d think I’d be home, right?” But no: “I have a lot of work waiting for me. …

“What’s a little snow, right?”

Metro officials said that with the “federal government closed, schools closed, rail traffic is very, very light compared to our normal commute,” said Metro spokeswoman Caroline Laurin.

She said there were a few trains with mechanical problems, “but not a lot.” She said Metro by day’s end expected to see ridership statistics showing far fewer commuters in the system because of the weather.

At the Foggy Bottom station, Dahrain Ranganathan, 25, a public policy student at George Washington University, unwrapped a scarf from around her face, and said, “I had no choice.”

She had a doctor’s appointment she could not afford to miss. “The clinic was open,” she said, headed back home after the 8 a.m appointment. “And there’s $100 cancellation fee associated with it.”

She said: “My main worry was slipping and falling on the ice. But I made it.” Smiling, she added: “And I always have my scarf.”

At the East Falls Church Metro stop, a lone station attendant stood outside on a sidewalk smoking a cigarette and a six-car train headed downtown had only two or three passengers per rail car.

On area roadways, there were no major accidents. Officials said traffic volumes were much lighter than a typical Monday morning, as drivers seem to be heeding warnings to stay off the roads.

Around 8 a.m., Glebe Road in Arlington was shut down in  both directions from Military Road to Chain Bridge Road because of an accident. But otherwise, authorities said there were no major accidents.

Just before 9 a.m., officials at major highway offices said crews were working to spread salt and plow snow and had been helped in some ways by the lighter traffic volumes. But they warned motorists who had to be on the roadways to slow down and leave plenty of space between vehicles because of the icy conditions.

Just before 9 a.m., plows were out on major roadways, officials said, but facing tough conditions as they were dealing with snow on top of ice and sleet. Views of major roadways in Maryland and Virginia from traffic cameras showed little traffic.

“It is still pretty rough going,” said Taran Hutchinson with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Operations Coordination Program. “Luckily the traffic volumes are low so we’re not seeing any big issues.” He said the Capital Beltway and Interstate 66 and Route 50 are plowed, but “slush-covered, as snow is still falling.”

“Even though we are plowing, it is still packed [on roads],” said Hutchinson.

“If you have to be out, stick to the main roads,” he said. “It is probably rougher travel on the bigger interstates.”

At area airports, the snow wrecked havoc on flights. Across the country, about 1,000 flights had been canceled, according to FlightAware. At Ronald Reagan National Airport, about 280 flights were canceled. About 130 flights, were canceled at Baltimore-Washington International Airport and 105 were canceled at Washington Dulles International Airport.

For more transportation-related news, click here, and for more weather updates, follow the Capital Weather Gang.


Paul Duggan and Amy Gardner contributed to this report.

Dana Hedgpeth is a Post reporter, working the early morning, reporting on traffic, crime and other local issues.



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