Washington, D.C. government experienced a massive failure of preparedness dealing with the snow that covered the city on Wednesday.
At least 1,000 reported fender-benders occurred, according to Waze along with work commutes of more than six hours. Interstates 66, 295, 495, 395, 95, 695, and 270 all suffered traffic blockages, with many of their exit ramps blocked. Maryland State Police Sgt. Brandon Gosnell told The Washington Post that Prince George’s County was “basically a parking lot — the entire county. We’re just playing catch-up.”
D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) called a press conference on Wednesday, but never addressed the storm that hit the city, preferring to speak of the imminent weekend storm. Kellie Boulware, a Maryland State Highway Administration spokeswoman, said that roads were not pre-treated because the storm had been predicted to be milder than what actually eventuated. Wednesday afternoon, the District’s Department of Transportation reportedly began treating the roads with beet juice, but it was too late, as the freezing roads had been left untreated for days, leaving them vulnerable to the first heavy snow.
An image from Google Maps from 7:16 p.m. Wednesday evening depicted how horrible traffic was.
On Thursday, Bowser offered an apology for her city’s unpreparedness, stating, “I want to say first and foremost to the residents of the District of Columbia, we are very sorry for inadequate response. We believe that we did not provide adequate resources at a time where it could make a difference in last evening’s commute. We should have been out earlier with more resources.”