Monday, February 1, 2016

MCDOT Responds to “Snowzilla” January 2016

The snowstorm of January 22 was record-setting, dumping between 22 and 38 inches of snow on Montgomery County. According to the National Weather Service, Potomac received the third highest snowfall on the East Coast with 38.5 inches recorded.

Here’s what MCDOT did to keep you moving:
  • Crews worked around the clock for nine or 10 days.  They ate and slept at the depots. Half the staff finally went home on Saturday, January 30 and then returned to work on Sunday. The other half worked Saturday and finally went home on Sunday, the 31st
  • Mobilized nearly 1,100 pieces of equipment to clear 5,200 lane miles of County roads. Remember, any road in the County designated by a number, such as River Road, Georgia Avenue, Connecticut Avenue, etc. are cleared by the State Highway Administration. Tree crews were also readied in case there were downed trees.
  • On Thursday and Friday before the storm hit, crews pretreated all roads. Typically, only emergency and main routes are pretreated, but MCDOT took the unusual step of pretreating neighborhood roads as well.
  • Made parking in County lots and garages free for nearly six days.

  • Kept Ride On buses running until 7 p.m. on January 22 – longer than any other regional transit system.
  • Plowed nonstop to keep 1,000 lane miles of emergency and main routes clear throughout the storm to make sure that every household was within one-half mile of a cleared road and could be reached by an emergency vehicle.
  • Cleared main Ride On bus routes to get the bus system back in service as soon as possible.
  • Set up strike teams of plows at each fire station battalion to clear the way for emergency calls.
  • Provided Ride On buses as shuttles for an emergency evacuation of condominium residents during the storm. 
  • Began snow hauling operations. Because of the amount of snow the County received, there just wasn’t enough room to push the snow to the sides of the roads. Instead, it had to be hauled away, particularly in central business districts and from bus routes, main and secondary roads, intersections and even neighborhoods
  • Made sure traffic signals worked and adjusted their timing to try and keep traffic moving, despite reduced lanes on many highways.
  • Initially cleared snow from highest ridership bus stops to quickly provide access to 70 percent of Ride On passengers.
  • Cleared sidewalks at MCDOT facilities, including access to 56 parking lots, garages and park and ride lots and their adjacent 3.5 miles of sidewalks. Cleared miles of sidewalks along properties not owned by the County to improve safety on busy pedestrian routes.
  • Made nearly every street passable within 79 hours of snowfall’s end.
  • Crews remain fully mobilized and continue to widen roadways, improve sight lines, clear intersections and remove snow from some high-traffic sidewalks as resources become available. They have also begun filling potholes.
Watch as Highway crews use a industrial sized snowblower to clear lanes on Watkins Mill Road in Germantown:

Clearing sidewalks on Watkins Mill

These photos were taken during Snowzilla:

For more photos and videos visit Highway Division on Twitter.