Lou Hatter 540-829-7537
Dec. 19, 2009
MOTORISTS CAUTIONED AGAINST TRAVEL OVERNIGHT
Freezing expected as temperatures drop; VDOT crews continue plowing interstates, primaries
CULPEPER — Roads across Central Virginia are still snow-covered and driving is extremely hazardous. Those contemplating travel overnight are urged to delay any non-essential driving until conditions improve.
Interstate 64 and I-66 are passable but snow-covered. Primary roads in Central Virginia are generally passable with at least one lane open but are snow-covered and slick. Route 29 in southern Albemarle County is still closed between I-64 and the Nelson County line. Numerous tractor-trailers and other vehicles became stuck last night and emergency responders, including crews from the Virginia Department of Transportation, have been working since that time clearing the road, evacuating motorists and moving their vehicles out of the travel lanes.
Motorists who must travel overnight Saturday are cautioned to expect to encounter freezing conditions since the snow and slush on the roads will likely freeze as temperatures drop into the 20s in most areas.
People who must travel should check VDOT’s traffic and travel Web site, www.511Virginia.org, for real-time road conditions and weather forecasts. The site also has live traffic camera images for many major highways, including I-64 and Routes 29 and 250 in Central Virginia.
VDOT’s goal is to have all roads passable within 48 hours after a storm ends. Crews first clear interstates, primary roads and major secondary roads that connect localities, fire stations, employment hubs, military posts, schools, hospitals and other important public facilities.
Crews will begin clearing secondary roads once the major routes are in safe condition. Due to the severity of this storm work on the secondary system will likely take several days before all roads have been made passable. VDOT crews will continue working around the clock until that is accomplished.
Once conditions improve VDOT offers the following tips for driving in winter weather:
• Before you begin your trip, know the current road conditions and weather forecasts.
Call 511 or visit www.511Virginia.org.
• Make sure your windows, mirrors and lights are clear of ice and snow.
• Always wear your seat belt.
• Allow extra time to travel to your destination.
• Be aware of potentially icy areas such as bridges, overpasses and shady spots. Also, if there is heavy snow, ice or high winds, be alert to potential driving hazards including downed branches, trees and electric lines.
• Reduce speed as appropriate and keep a safe distance of at least five seconds behind other vehicles and snowplows.
• Do not pass a snowplow unless it is absolutely necessary. Remember, the plow is clearing a path for you.
• Keep an emergency winter driving kit in your car. The kit should include a small bag of rock salt, sand or cat litter to provide traction in case you get stuck, a snowbrush and ice scraper, a flashlight, battery booster cables, a blanket and extra clothing.
• Practice common sense. Remember that your car cannot start, stop, or turn as quickly and surely on snow or ice as it does on dry pavement, so think and drive accordingly.
Information about preparing for winter weather and other emergencies can be found at www.ReadyVirginia.gov. The National Weather Service, Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Virginia Department of Social Services and other state agencies have created the Ready Virginia resource to provide residents with a one-stop shop for emergency preparedness tips and information.
Note to reporters and editors: Additional information about VDOT’s preparations for winter weather, how the agency responds to snow and ice, FAQs and information about the technology and tools VDOT uses in its winter weather response is available on the Web, www.virginiadot.org/newsroom/snowseason.asp
Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.