SHA Officials Warn Motorists to Delay Travel
With a winter storm approaching for most of the mid-Atlantic, Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) officials say they are ready to respond statewide for an extended period of snow overnight Monday into Tuesday.
SHA warns would-be travelers to prepare since many areas are expected to get six or more inches of snow, making travel during and immediately following the storm hazardous.
Extremely cold temperatures may make clearing and treating roadways a challenge. Statewide, SHA has nearly 2,500 pieces of equipment at its disposal to battle the storm on Monday night and Tuesday. Crews will add liquid magnesium chloride to salt applications to improve effectiveness since temperatures are expected to drop into the teens and single digits.
“Travel tonight and tomorrow morning should be delayed since it could take SHA crews through noon Tuesday to get roads to bare pavement,” said SHA Administrator Melinda Peters. “The expected snow, in conjunction with bitterly cold temperatures, could create very difficult travel conditions. SHA is asking motorists to plan ahead – take care of shopping and errands prior to Monday evening and avoid travel overnight Monday and Tuesday morning.”
Long distance commercial truck drivers may take safe haven during the storms at select SHA park and ride facilities across Maryland. Click here for a list of park and rides that are available. Dispatch centers should consider delaying shipments during the storm to prevent potential problems for commercial vehicles and drivers. A large truck stuck during a storm diverts emergency responders and can create significant traffic backups and impact snow removal operations.
“It is important for people to understand that the road conditions may not be suitable for travel. The crews work throughout storms to prevent snow and ice from bonding to the roads but it is not until several hours after a storm that they can truly clear the precipitation off highways. Add that with the bitter cold and the challenge is all the greater,” said Peters. “We’re urging everyone to avoid travel this evening, overnight and tomorrow morning; it’s simply not worth the risk of being stuck or stranded in these extremely cold temperatures.”
SHA and the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) encourage motorists to always be prepared through the winter by keeping a few key items in your car at all times such as an ice scraper, bottled water, cell phone, an extra heavy jacket or blanket, sand for traction, jumper cables and safety flares. A complete list of FEMA-recommended items is at http://m.fema.gov/before-winter-storms-extreme-cold.
Even with good preparation, motorists should avoid unnecessary travel for their own safety and to give crews the time and space they need to clear roads. The National Weather Service has issued weather advisories including winter storm watches and warnings for all of Maryland. Air and pavement temperatures will remain well below freezing so any precipitation has the potential to quickly freeze on roadways.
Visit www.MD511.org to view traffic cameras and obtain traffic and weather information. Customers may call 511 for traffic information using a hands-free mobile device or land line.