State Says It Will Take Days to Clear Roads

(February 6, 2010) - Governor Martin O'Malley today warned Marylanders to stay home and not travel to avoid life-threatening and extremely treacherous conditions across Maryland. Precipitation has stopped across the state but it will take highway crews days to get travel lanes, ramps, shoulders and turn lanes clear along interstates, U.S. and MD routes. Temperatures are dropping, making travel even more dangerous when vehicles become stranded and passengers are trapped with the potential to get hypothermia.

During a press briefing today at the State Highway Administration Operations Center, Governor O'Malley stressed that this snow is a different snow than the one we had in December - it is heavier, colder and significantly higher accumulation. The Governor cautioned that even though the sun may come out Sunday, the roads will not be completely clear and safe and citizens should not be tempted to try to go anywhere, even to Super Bowl events. Doing so may be risking your life.

In addition to plowing snow, SHA crews have rescued stranded motorists along the highways. SHA has worked all day to clear traffic stopped on I-95 southbound between I-695 in Baltimore County and MD 175 in Howard County due to several disabled trucks and vehicles. Drivers have been trapped in the miles-long back-up and as temperatures drop into the teens, this is a life-threatening situation. Traffic is now moving and the back up should be cleared this evening.

Crews have worked non-stop since Friday and continue to battle the storm. SHA will switch to shifts overnight to allow crews to rest. As temperatures drop, the snow on roads will freeze and become hard crusted ice, making driving more treacherous. This also requires SHA to use front-end loaders to haul out the snow. The removal process for this amount of snow will be slow and tedious, so realistically, conditions will continue to be challenging at least through early next week.

"If people stay home, we have a much better chance of making headway on plowing the highways." said Transportation Secretary Beverely Swaim-Staley. "We can't stress enough that you need to stay home to stay safe and allow our crews to clear the snow."

Source: Md. SHA

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