The worst commutes of 2014

Researchers found that while D.C. drivers account for a small percentage of the workforce, many rely heavily on mass transit.  (WTOP File/Dave Dildine)
(WTOP File/Dave Dildine) WASHINGTON — Washington commuters expect congestion and delays. Crashes, roadwork and police activity are part of the game. But put all three together at the height of rush hour and the gridlock ripples across the region. These horrific traffic jams can last for hours and affect hundreds of thousands. WTOP’s Dave Dildine details a few of the worst rush hours in 2014. Each featured major incidents and extreme, widespread delays that affected tens of thousands of motorists far and wide. ((WTOP File/Dave Dildine))
@brianb2232  Apr 30
495 beltway turned into a lake! #rain #dc @laurynricketts @wtop @ABC7News pic.twitter.com/dqXn8itEkA
(Twitter/@brianb2232) Wednesday, April 30 — Soaking storms, submerged roads Nothing slows rush hour traffic more effectively than heavy rain. Decks were awash on April 30, when torrents of heavy rain led to widespread flash flooding and numerous road closures during the afternoon commute. Rain totals exceeded four inches in many places. Dozens of water rescues were reported in Montgomery and Fairfax counties. In Virginia, major roads, including Route 7 in Great Falls, were closed. The Accotink Creek overflowed its banks and the low-water crossings on Pickett Road, Prosperity Avenue and Woodburn Road. In Maryland, bridges on several major highways were damaged by the flood waters, including Route 29 at the Northwest Branch and Route 198 at the Little Patuxent River. Two weeks later, a second flash flood event caused more travel headaches. (Twitter brian2232)
(WTOP photo illustration) Thursday, May 8 — Surprise getaway After an unusually cold, snowy winter, Washingtonians were eager to take advantage of the first warm spring weekend. Highs in the upper 80s lured many people out of hibernation and onto the roads. The “Mother’s Day Getaway” traffic was particularly slow on Interstate 95. Several serious accidents closed major roads. Reston Parkway was closed after a motorcycle wreck near Wiehle Avenue. Drivers north of Leesburg sat in long delays on U.S. 15 due to a crash near the Point of Rocks Bridge. A fatal accident closed Central Avenue near Six Flags for several hours.
Wreck on the Outer Loop on June 2, 2014 in Montgomery County caused a fuel spill. (WTOP/Kristi King)
(WTOP/Kristi King) Monday, June 2 — Outer Loop truck wreck The first rush hour in June got off to a rough start in Montgomery County when a routine police traffic stop on the Beltway turned into a major accident scene. Around 2 a.m., a tractor-trailer side-swiped a police cruiser and a car stopped on the right shoulder of the Outer Loop near Colesville Road. The truck jackknifed and its fuel tank ruptured. The police investigation and spill cleanup closed all lanes of Interstate 495 West for several hours. Police reopened a couple of lanes by 6 a.m. and reopened all lanes by 7:30 a.m., but extensive delays remained through late morning.
beltway_truckcrash_response_ddi.JPG
(WTOP/Dave Dildine) Thursday, July 31 — Hazmat in Hillandale Around 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 31, a truck and a car collided on the Beltway Inner Loop east of New Hampshire Avenue. The car spun into the median strip while the truck careened into the sound wall. In addition to the damage alongside the road, the trailer cracked open spilling five drums of Rubinate, a chemical used in polyurethane production, on the highway. Traffic on the Inner Loop was diverted onto Colesville Road as hazmat crews began inspecting the contents of the truck. As cleanup continued, police began allowing two left lanes to get by. But the right lanes remained closed through the afternoon rush hour and caused extreme bailout delays on routes throughout Montgomery County. The Inner Loop itself was jammed from Tysons Corner, Virginia. All lanes finally reopened later that night, nearly 11 hours after the midday crash.
GW Parkway sinkhole (Courtesy Sgt. Lelani Woods)
(Courtesy Sgt. Lelani Woods/U.S. Park Police) Tuesday, Dec. 2 — George Washington Parkway road collapse After responding to several car wrecks on the George Washington Parkway in Arlington late on Dec. 1, police discovered a large sinkhole in the parkway’s southbound lanes. The GW Parkway south was immediately closed at Route 123. Emergency road repairs lasted all day on Dec. 2. The closure of the GW Parkway’s inbound lanes sent drivers scrambling to find alternate routes throughout Arlington and southern Montgomery County. Lesser county roads in McLean and Falls Church were clogged with bailout during the morning rush hour. Inbound Clara Barton Parkway and Cabin John Parkway were overwhelmed with traffic, as were the Beltway and eastbound Interstate 66. Light rain began falling prior to the afternoon rush hour, further slowing traffic. An already miserable afternoon commute was worsened when a presidential motorcade was routed around the Beltway from Bethesda toward the American Legion Bridge. More than 10 miles of traffic was brought to a complete stop on the Beltway between Tysons Corner and Bethesda during the escort. Police also blocked the outbound lanes of the George Washington Parkway as a part of the motorcade route. Repairs of the collapsed road neared completion late Tuesday evening. One southbound lane of the parkway was reopened by 9 p.m. as a horrific rush hour finally drew to a close.  
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Researchers found that while D.C. drivers account for a small percentage of the workforce, many rely heavily on mass transit.  (WTOP File/Dave Dildine)
@brianb2232  Apr 30
495 beltway turned into a lake! #rain #dc @laurynricketts @wtop @ABC7News pic.twitter.com/dqXn8itEkA
Wreck on the Outer Loop on June 2, 2014 in Montgomery County caused a fuel spill. (WTOP/Kristi King)
beltway_truckcrash_response_ddi.JPG
GW Parkway sinkhole (Courtesy Sgt. Lelani Woods)

WTOP Traffic’s Dave Dildine recaps a few of the worst rush hours in 2014. Each featured major incidents and extreme, widespread delays that affected tens of thousands of motorists.

 

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