High waters converge for traffic headaches

WASHINGTON — When heavy rains and rush hours coincide, delays are inevitable. Today, the worst of the region’s traffic woes have correlated with the flash flood warnings issued for Loudoun County in Virginia and Montgomery and Frederick counties in Maryland.

High water led to the closure of eastbound Route 7 at the Leesburg Bypass, sending drivers onto West Market Street and other small, congested streets downtown.

Gridlock spread, slowing ramps leading off the westbound lanes of the bypass. The pace was further slowed by weather. The traffic jam spilled back onto the Dulles Greenway which was backed up for several miles into Leesburg. Delays spread onto Route 15 toward Point of Rocks. In Frederick, the wet weather led to numerous accidents. I-70 west ground to a halt when two collisions blocked westbound lanes near Route 340 and in Myersville.

I-70 and U.S. Route 40 were closed west of Hagerstown, Maryland near the Big Pool exits due to significant flash flooding. The National Weather Service estimated that over four inches of rain had fallen since noon.

On I-270 a truck jackknifed south of Montrose Road, snarling traffic from Gaithersburg. The rubbernecking caused extensive delays to spread onto the Beltway and into the I-495 interchanges as far south as McLean and Tysons Corner, Virginia. Nearby, a series of wrecks occurred on Route 267 and Route 7.

On the Dulles Toll Road, a crash blocked lanes west of Wolf Trap causing a five-mile-long backup. Above the Dulles Toll Road, a wreck occurred on the Route 7 overpass causing delays throughout Tysons. On the Dulles Access Road a crash was reported in the eastbound lanes near the Beltway.

When a road is near capacity, any brief slowdown can ripple backwards and disrupt the flow of traffic for hours. When rain begins to fall, accidents, road spray and flooding are just a few of the factors that can lead to extreme delays.

All the more reason to tune to WTOP Traffic, or better yet, just stay home.

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