For the second consecutive year, transportation crews got their winter tune-up before
At the height of the storm overnight, 132 state roads were closed and 111 signals were dark, according to the State Highway Administration.
As snow piled up at more than an inch an hour in Western Maryland, a 50-mile stretch of Interstate 68 was closed as trucks with snowblower attachments and a "towplow," a double-wide snowplow, cleared the way. At the other end of the state, powerful floodwaters tore apart a 72-inch culvert under Old Ocean City Road and opened a huge sinkhole
In all 1,200 SHA workers were on duty from Deep Creek Lake to Ocean City.
"The challenge was the intensity and diversity of the storm," said Melinda Peters, SHA administrator. "We were prepared. We had the right assets in the right locations to succeed."
Little by little, the transportation system is returning to normal.
The last airline to shut down at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on Monday morning was the first to come back 24 hours later. A chartered military Delta 747 from Ramstein Air Base in Germany touched down at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Delta resumed commercial flights later in the afternoon and United was planning to ramp up service in the evening. Southwest and its subsidiary,
Although sustained winds reached 40 mph with gusts to 59 mph Monday night, the airport fared well in the storm, said Paul Wiedefeld, BWI's executive director. The electricity remained on, the facility did not experience significant flooding or damage, and the airfield stayed open and clear of debris.
In fact, BWI used Monday's storm, with its poor visibility and bad driving conditions, to practice its snow-removal operation. Crews tested equipment on the runway and went through simulated exercises with the control tower.
At 2 p.m. Tuesday, the Coast Guard relaxed restrictions on vessel movements in the access channels leading to the
But the shutdown caused a traffic jam at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, with 28 ships waiting to either arrive or leave Baltimore's port.
Meanwhile the 963-foot Carnival Pride cruise ship, which left Baltimore Sunday evening without passengers, remains anchored off
As the winds subsided, Maryland's five toll bridges returned to standard operations just before 3 p.m. Tuesday.
The Francis Scott Key Bridge was closed for nearly 9.5 hours, and the Hatem Bridge carrying U.S. 40 over the Susquehanna River was closed for about 13.5 hours.
Maryland Transportation Authority spokeswoman Kelly Melhem said there was no significant damage or incidents at any bridge or tunnel.
As water continues to recede, the next step for SHA workers is to assess road and bridge damage, Peters said.
"You could say we've had a tune-up for every kind of event," she said. "But having said that, I wouldn't complain if we had another mild winter like last year."