Monday, December 21, 2009

Virginia is for Incompetents

I realize that I'm late with the WotW and still have to write about yesterday's gawd awful 49ers loss, but I'm seriously steamed right now and desperately need to vent.

Let me set the stage for you.

I awakened this morning determined to leave the house early to avoid what I expected to be a crush of traffic due to the way people in this region panic at any sort of weather, including bright sunshine. My street and the connector street to the main drag of my community were a little dicey, but from the time I hit the main drag until I hit the VA state line, I drove on roads that were 100% passable and well-plowed. There were a couple of places where the right lane felt a little narrow due to the wall of snow shoved up against the adjacent Jersey wall, but kudos to MDOT for doing an excellent job.

Now, for the rest of the story.

Once I crossed the American Legion bridge of the Capitol Beltway into Northern Virginia, traffic came to a near standstill. There were no signs, no indication that something was amiss. Nope, just a sudden and complete gridlock.

Everyone was trying to merge left. After about a quarter mile, I could finally see signs: Lane Closed for Snow Removal Preparations. Preparations? Huh?

The rightmost lane was closed. Another sign - the lane over was closed. Then I saw to my amazement yet another sign - the NEXT lane was closed! Three of the four lanes on the Capitol MF'ing Beltway were closed for over .2 of a mile at rush hour (this was just after 6 AM)!

There were front loaders moving massive amounts of snow (hey, we DID just have a blizzard!) from the rightmost two lanes. I had to ask myself, what the hell was the State of Virginia doing all day Sunday? WHY was this clearing activity left to be done during Monday morning rush hour?!?!?

There were two lanes open for about two miles, then four for half a mile, then three, then two again. No signs, no warnings. Just lanes disappearing randomly. This is not the first time I've experienced that phenomenon with VA; after the Blizzard of '96 I experienced the spine-tingling thrill of crossing the American Legion Bridge, rounding the bend, and finding my lane completely blocked with snow. No warning. Just gone.

The exit ramp I took into Tysons Corner was poorly plowed. Leesburg Pike -- the main drag of Tysons Corner! -- was poorly plowed. The main thoroughfare onto which I later turned looked like it had been plowed maybe once all weekend; the right turn lane onto that street hadn't been plowed at all. Let me repeat, this is a main thoroughfare.

Neighborhoods in VA hadn't see a plow yet. My neighborhood was drivable by late Sunday morning!

The shear magnitude of incompetence shown time and time again by VDOT is astounding. How the citizens of Virginia put up with this is beyond me. Simply beyond me.

A co-worker told me that the Federal Government had announced that it is closed today. Well, no wonder! With so many Federal employees living in Virginia, how the hell could they POSSIBLY open?

Big fat raspberries all around to VDOT, the State of Virginia, and the citizens of Virginia who put up with this nonsense.