With another round of winter weather on the way, DC-area crews preparing

Snow is making the roads slick all around the Washington area. (WTOP/Will Vitka)

WASHINGTON — Crews across the D.C. area are expecting a few challenges as more winter weather approaches, but transportation officials say their main priority is making sure roadways are properly treated, and have a common message for would-be drivers.

Charlie Gischlar, with the Maryland State Highway Administration, told WTOP they’ve been preparing for the winter weather heading our way since last week.

“We started pre-treating operations and they will continue through the afternoon in most of the areas,” Gischlar said.

The biggest challenge is completing snow operations during the morning rush and low visibility for plow truck drivers and commuters.

“If you don’t have to go out, please ride it out,” Gischlar said. “The storm’s not going to last forever. We’re going to be out there treating. Drive when you’re comfortable.”

Gischlar also reminded drivers to clear their vehicles. “At highway speeds, you’re dealing with chunks of ice that are flying out of control and could possibly injure somebody — so please, take the extra few minutes and clean your vehicle completely off,” Gischlar said.

Ellen Kamilakis, with the Virginia Department of Transportation, said crews have gotten a head start treating many of the roadways, but the main challenge will also be traffic tie-ups, which could slow down efforts to keep the roads clear.

Kamilakis also asked people to stay indoors when possible. “If the plow truck is stuck in traffic, it’s not going to be doing much work and it makes it a little dangerous for drivers,” said Kamilakis.

VDOT has already pre-treated Interstate 95 and interstate ramps in the Fredericksburg area.

In the District, crews are also pre-treating the roads, with plans to continue through Tuesday night.

Jeff Marootian, with the District Department of Transportation, reminded drivers to maintain a safe distance from snow removal vehicles. Marootian is also asking residents to do their part when they’re off the roads.

“It is the homeowner or business owner’s responsibility to shovel the sidewalks. We want to encourage everybody to please do your part, and if you can shovel for a neighbor, please help out
that way as well,” Marootian said.

You can follow D.C.’s snow plow progress live.

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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