Road crews on alert for late-season storm

March 02, 2009|By Arin Gencer

State road crews prepared for a late-season storm that began with wet flakes about 7:30 p.m. yesterday.

Forecasters were predicting the storm could hit Maryland with anything from a few inches to a foot of snow. Predictions of heavier accumulations east of Baltimore led Anne Arundel County officials to announce last night that public schools would be closed today.

More than 2,700 personnel and 324,000 tons of salt are "on the ready" for the storm, Gov. Martin O'Malley said, as are more than 2,400 pieces of equipment from the State Highway Administration and Maryland Transportation Authority.

O'Malley, who was briefed by workers at the State Highway Administration's operations center in Hanover yesterday morning, said Marylanders should stay off the roads when possible and continue to exercise caution even after the snow stops.

The highway administration has spent more than $40 million to deal with snow and ice this year, O'Malley said. The operation costs about $250,000 per hour at peak times, he said.

Mayor Sheila Dixon said last night that about 100 city vehicles will be working the streets using 12,000 tons of salt.

"We're going to make sure our people are out all night around the clock clearing the roads."

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