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Safety compelled roads to close during funeral procession

Thursday - 3/22/2012, 6:06am  ET

Many commuters complained about the delays associated with two funeral processions for fallen heroes earlier this week. Is that a fair complaint? Should the funerals be conducted at different hours? Are we showing enough respect to our fallen heroes? Post a comment in this story, comment on WTOP's Facebook Page or use WTOPTalkback on Twitter.

Adam Tuss, wtop.com

WASHINGTON -- Inconvenience for commuters, versus the ultimate inconvenience.

After a large funeral procession Tuesday morning for Maj. Robert J. Marchanti II from Maryland, comments came in to WTOP about the need to close major roads for these types of events. The procession ran from the Baltimore area to Arlington National Cemetery. Some parts of Interstate 95, the Capital Beltway and other major roads had to be closed for a period of time.

Rich writes WTOP: "Being a vet (Vietnam through Desert Storm 1), I of all people recognize the sacrifice our troops make for our freedoms and service to our country. That said - the issue of funeral processions, shutting down major arteries etc, needs addressing. Why can't traffic and processions co-exist - why must the road be 'closed down'???"

Maryland State Police tell WTOP the plan for Tuesday morning was actually to have traffic and the procession rolling together. But bad weather, coupled with a very large motorcade including dozens of motorcycles, necessitated shutting down some roads.

"It became dangerous. Safety played a role and the decision was made to close some roads," says Maryland State Police spokesman Greg Shipley.

The procession was scheduled to be at Arlington National Cemetery by 9 a.m.

"You have to be there at the appointed time," says Shipley.

Shipley says there is a lot of coordination that goes on to make these events happen, often in a short amount of time.

"We try to be as effective and expeditious as possible when planning these events."

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)