Lou Hatter 540-829-7537
Feb. 5, 2010
AVOID TRAVEL DURING WINTER STORM
VDOT fully mobilized as snow begins to accumulate across Piedmont Virginia
CULPEPER — The Virginia Department of Transportation is urging residents to avoid travel during the winter storm that is now affecting much of the state. Many major highways in southwest, central and Piedmont Virginia are snow-covered and hazardous and the snow is moving into the northern portion of the state.
Snow accumulations of 12 to 18 inches are forecast overnight Friday in the central and northern regions of Virginia, with snow continuing on Saturday. The National Weather Service is warning that conditions are likely to deteriorate Friday afternoon and that travel will be extremely hazardous during the storm.
VDOT is fully mobilized across its Culpeper District with snowplows working on the interstates and primary highways across the region. Those roads are reported in minor condition, with patches of snow in the Charlottesville area, while farther north toward Culpeper and Warrenton the road surfaces are clear.
In addition to snowplows VDOT has also mobilized heavy equipment, including motor graders and front-end loaders that are able to move heavy snow. Tree crews are also on call and will be dispatched to clear roads blocked by fallen trees.
Motorists who must travel Friday afternoon are strongly urged to check VDOT’s travel information Web site, www.511Virginia.org. The site has real-time information on road conditions and weather for all major highways in Virginia. VDOT’s statewide network of traffic cameras also provides live feeds of traffic conditions on major highways, including several in Central Virginia.
VDOT offers the following tips for driving in winter weather:
• Make sure your windows, mirrors and lights are clear of ice and snow.
• Always wear your seat belt.
• 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.
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.