Travelers Should Plan for Long Afternoon Commute

(November 7, 2012) – The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) is tracking a coastal storm expected to produce a cold rain that may turn into snow showers this afternoon during peak travel time.  SHA urges travelers to expect and plan for longer afternoon commute times as roads could become slippery.  Pavement temperatures are generally above freezing, which should prevent snow from initially bonding to the surface.  However any snow or sleet in the metropolitan areas will result in significantly slower traffic speeds.

“Rush hour and snow are a bad combination for commuters and for highway crews. This is central Maryland’s first winter weather this season and although it may be light, the timing couldn’t be worse,” said SHA Administrator Melinda B. Peters.  “SHA crews will treat the roads with salt when it starts snowing but keep in mind, those trucks are in the same traffic on the same roads as commuters and there may be many places where the salt never reaches the road.  Pavement temperatures should be warm enough that it doesn’t stick but there are no guarantees.  Please give our crews space to treat roadways and plan for a potentially rough commute.”

SHA’s maintenance team is monitoring the storm and is ready to respond as soon as wintery precipitation begins to fall.  SHA will not pre-treat any roads with salt brine because air and pavement temperatures are relatively high and the storm is expected to begin as rain, which would wash away the pre-treatment.  SHA has more than 360,000 tons of salt stocked up and ready to use to treat roads this winter.

Drivers can get the latest road conditions on SHA’s website at and clicking “CHART.”  Travelers may obtain the latest free traffic and weather information by calling 5-1-1 from a landline or a hands-free mobile device or logging onto  Maryland’s 511 service now offers free text and email alerts for most frequented routes through 511Direct – simply register and set your routes and preferences on-line.

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