The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and Department of Public Works (DPW) are preparing for freezing rain meteorologists predict will begin falling in the District around 5 am, Friday, December 25.
“As we are beginning to see a better chance of the system come into the District, we want to prepare people who will be traveling for the holiday,” said DPW Director William O. Howland, Jr. “Ice is significantly different than snow and roadway conditions will be uncertain. If at all possible, people should stay at home and travel later in the day or leave earlier.”
The District Snow Team is currently planning to gear up for a full deployment beginning at 3 am on Friday through until early afternoon when temperatures are expected to rise above freezing and the precipitation anticipated turning to rain.
“We are encouraging drivers to plan ahead, drive with caution, and please, please allow for ample time to reach destinations, said DDOT Director Gabe Klein. “If at all possible, take transit as an alternative to driving.
Preparations include pre-treating bridges, overpasses and other elevated structures and staging a full deployment of crews and pieces of equipment to be in place at 3 am Friday.
District residents and businesses are also reminded again to “clear their sidewalks, sidewalk entrances, nearby catch basin openings, and the area surrounding hydrants of snow, sleet and ice to prevent injury to pedestrians.”
Sidewalks that were not cleared from the past weekend’s blizzard will be particularly hazardous as the ice/freezing rain begins to coat untreated pedestrian paths. It is also recommended to put down salt or sand. These important measures assist in keeping the sidewalks safe and passable for all pedestrians including District residents and visitors. Please remember to assist elderly and disabled neighbors.
Refreezing is also anticipated Friday evening as temperatures drop back below freezing. Travelers throughout the area are advised to pre-plan and evaluate their trips.
DDOT and DPW remind commuters and residents to:
- Please take Metro as an alternative to driving
- Listen to media reports for weather updates
- Remember that driving on ice is significantly different than driving on snow. Even a 4-wheel drive SUV does not perform well in ice and additional safety measures should be followed.
- Drivers should use extreme caution and maintain safe speeds and distances from other vehicles.
- Be aware of road conditions, particularly black ice which can be deceptive in its appearance giving the driver a false sense of security on the road.
- Remember to keep a safe distance from emergency and snow vehicles during any major winter weather event.
- Variable Message Signs placed strategically along local highways and corridors will remind motorists that “Bridges Freeze before Roadways” and/or “Caution – Icy Conditions” in an effort to further remind drivers to go slowly and be wary of icy conditions including black ice in the roadway. Black ice is transparent ice located on the roadway making it very difficult to detect and becoming a major hazard to motorists.
- Please remain alert, do not drive distracted and be aware of surrounding conditions including other vehicles and pedestrians.