Over 2,000 km of traffic jams as snow moves west across Netherlands

Snow in Amsterdam
Snow dusted the roads in Amsterdam Noord late in the morning. 22 Jan. 2019Photo: NL Times

5:30 p.m., 22 Jan. 2019: Traffic jams frustrated drivers on over 2,115 kilometers of roadways by 5:30 p.m. The regions facing the most delays at that time were around Den Bosch, Utrecht, Eindhoven, and Nijmegen. 

There were over 1,635 kilometers of traffic jams across the Netherlands at 5:05 p.m. on Tuesday, just as the evening rush hour got underway, according to travel association ANWB. A snow storm that started on the west coast in the morning was slowly making its way east, and was still expected to hover over the provinces of Friesland, Groningen, Drenthe, Overijssel, Gelderland, Limburg, and parts of Flevoland and Noord-Brabant past 6 p.m.

Traffic quickly built up from under 1,400 kilometers of jammed roadways at about 4:45 p.m. as people left their workplaces. It makes January 22 a very early contender for worst traffic day of 2019, with the day potentially more meddlesome than last November 1. ANWB called that date the worst of 2018, with 1,135 kilometers of jams.

There were nearly two dozen traffic jams along the A2 alone, with bottlenecks all the way from Amsterdam down to Maastricht, and also on the reverse route at many points. Some of the most significant traffic jams were on the A12 both directions between Arnhem and Utrecht, on the A1 in each route between Amsterdam and Apeldoorn, and the A50 from Zwolle towards Eindhoven.

Passengers at Schiphol Airport may be more optimistic than those hitting the roads on Tuesday. "It has stopped snowing! As for now, we don’t expect any disruptions to scheduled flights this evening," the airport posted on its website at 4:45 p.m. Eindhoven Airport warned of delays and cancellations, advising passengers to follow their website closely. Inbound and outbound flights there were delayed up to an hour as of 5:20 p.m. There were problems earlier in the afternoon at Rotterdam-The Hague Airport, which was shut down as fire crews helped clear snow off the airfield. 

The national railway NS reported few problems Tuesday afternoon, though travelers between Venlo and Kaldenkirchen were advised to allow for an extra hour of travel time. People headed from Venlo to Roermond were also facing difficulties on Tuesday afternoon. Meanwhile, a defective train was causing a disruption from Amsterdam and Haarlem towards Alkmaar. 

Public buses in Amsterdam were running with few problems, according to the GVB, but a power outage had caused issues on trams 1, 2, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, and 24.

In Rotterdam, the RET was warning passengers of trouble on bus route 602. This was caused by slippery roads, forcing the public transit organization to change the route and schedule.

Code yellow weather warnings for snow and slick roadways took effect on Tuesday morning, and were to continue into Wednesday afternoon. Winter weather forecasts predicting snow were already circulating late last week, with the first snowflakes of 2019 landed in Vlissingen.