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Hitting The Road: State Highway Crews Out In Full Force As Maryland Sees Another Winter Blast

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snow prep, plow, salt truck
McCorkel Meghan 370x278 (2) Meghan McCorkell
Meghan McCorkell joined the Eyewitness News team in July 2011 as a...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—The roads were covered before the sun came up, but it wasn’t with snow.

Meghan McCorkell has more on the current treatment for Tuesday’s storm.

By noon, the city used 2,700 tons of salt on the roads and streets, and plows are out in full force. Even so, you can see a lot of slush and muck. It won’t thaw and will get worse overnight.

Roads quickly turned treacherous throughout Maryland with snow sticking and the cold temperatures and wind gusts making travel hazardous.

“If I was giving advice, I’d say slow it way down. I’m driving 10 miles below the speed limit and it’s still a little dicey out here so take your time. That’s all I can tell you,” said one man.

Road crews struggled to keep pace as the snow kept coming down.

“The streets are terrible. They really are; they’re really worst right now,” said driver Chanita Buckson.

The icy roads led to fender benders; one crash shut down Greenspring Avenue. Maryland State Police dealt with hundreds of wrecks across the state.

“We have vehicles that are sliding off the roadway. We have vehicles that are running into other vehicles,” said Sgt. Marc Black, Maryland State Police.

Visibility was so low, you could hardly see the Bay Bridge, which was under wind restrictions–and it could get worse.

“We could expect whiteout conditions leading to traffic stops on the Bay Bridge,” said Becky Freeburger, MdTA.

State officials are warning people to stay home. As crews start to clear roads, here’s the big concern overnight: the snow that is falling is really light and fluffy. With winds picking up, it’s blowing right back onto the road. With temperatures plunging overnight, all of it could become ice.

It’s bad news for RN Connie Waddell, who has to drive to work.

“This is bad. It’s nothing to play in. If you don’t have to go out, stay home [where] it’s safe,” she said.

Not an option when your job happens rain, hail, sleet or snow.

“That’s why I’m driving five miles an hour out here. I’m not trying to get in no accidents or anything,” said postal worker Juan Sutton.

With conditions still treacherous, it could be another rough commute Wednesday morning. Highway officials warn even after the snow stops, it will take between four and six hours to clear the roads.

“We’re able to monitor conditions 24/7 here at the operations center. We have cameras and wind sensors and pavement sensors so we’re able to keep up on it. We then have maintenance shops all across the state and we’re pretty much fully deployed. We have 2,600 people out and we will be basically deployed until the snow stops. It will take four to six hours after the snow stops to get everything down to bare pavement,” said Valerie Burnette Edgar, SHA.

SHA crews will work through the night.

“Drivers should prepare for an extended commute tomorrow morning,” stated SHA Administrator Melinda B. Peters. “Crews will continue to address snow coverage on state routes tonight. If you must go out, please drive with extra caution, especially along ramps as crews work to clear travel lanes and reach bare pavement.”

There are continuing concerns about health, including frostbite and hypothermia, as the bitter cold stays in place.

“The problem is when you have the extreme cold in making sure we don’t have any temperature-related deaths. That is one of the things…when we had `Snowmageddon,’ I kept talking about the main thing is public safety and making sure we could get to every single emergency call for service,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Statewide, seven people have died this winter from cold-related illnesses.

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