First snowfall has commuters stymied


The areas first snowfall Wednesday morning created anxious, long hours for commuters, as bridges and overpasses froze causing numerous accidents around the beltway.

While the actual accumulation of snow amounted to anywhere from a dusting to an inch or so, it was the icy conditions that kept city, county and state road crews busy throughout the day.

Traffic was backed up on I-95 northbound for more than 16 miles as commuters tried to make their way around the top of the beltway from below Springfield toward the American Legion Bridge. Numerous fender-benders were reported due to the icy roads as drivers tried to make their way up the incline heading toward I-270. Maryland drivers heading into the District from Gaithersburg found the going rough with delays upwards of three hours. At around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, I-270 was closed for a time because of the icy conditions.

Around Alexandria the snowflakes began to fall in earnest at around 9 a.m., but even then the flakes were light and not sticking to the ground. By midday Wednesday, large fluffy flakes drifted down, sticking to cars tops, tree branches and on the grass. Roadways were dicey in some spots, but city road crews were ready from midnight on, according to Doug McCobb, deputy director of Transportation & Environmental Services. Truck after truck had payloads of salt and sand ready to hit the city streets in preparation for morning rush hour. No accidents were reported.