- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Local transportation crews are taking advantage of the unseasonably warm spell in the D.C. area to repair roads and finish projects that would have been suspended in wintry weather.

Daytime temperatures in the 60s and low 70s have allowed road repair crews to patch potholes, repave roads and revitalize curbs and sidewalks, transportation officials said.

Usually, transportation departments suspend road work or repaving at the beginning of December when temperatures fall below 45 degrees, officials said.

“It has been fantastic,” said Erik Linden, a spokesman for the D.C. Department of Transportation (DDOT), of the warm weather. “It’s allowed us to step up on our paving more than we normally would.”

Specifically, crews have been able to work on the Klingle Bridge and Reno Road, both in Northwest, and the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge. DDOT also has been able to continue streetscape work on Florida Avenue Northwest, Mr. Linden said.

“For these projects, the warm weather has been a godsend,” said Mr. Linden, adding that the mild temperatures will help keep the projects on time and maybe ahead of schedule.

The average high temperature for this time of year is 46 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. The D.C. area saw temperatures reach 61 degrees Sunday and 74 degrees Monday, the weather service said.

Brian Lasorsa, a meteorologist with the weather service, said Monday’s record temperatures were the result of a warm flow of air from the South. The general warm trend is a result of a lack of cold fronts, he said.

“The cold air is just not coming from across the northern parts of the country,” Mr. Lasorsa said.

In Virginia, the warm weather has been a boon for keeping construction at the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and the Springfield interchange on schedule, said Joan Morris, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Transportation.

“We’re taking full advantage of this great weather,” Miss Morris said.

She said that while construction crews can work through winter, they can’t pave roads when the temperature dips below 45 degrees.

The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) requires the temperature to be consistently 50 degrees or higher for crews to pave roads. But state officials have already shut down the asphalt production facilities for the season.

“We can’t always trust the weather,” said Charlie Gischlar, a spokesman for SHA.

Maryland officials are hoping to shift their focus now to winter weather preparation, which includes clearing ditches and storm drains of debris, Mr. Gischlar said.

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