Lou Hatter 540-829-7537
Jan. 29, 2010
VDOT PREPARED FOR FORECAST WINTER STORM
Crews on duty overnight across Piedmont Va.; motorists urged to avoid unnecessary travel
CULPEPER — The Virginia Department of Transportation is prepared for the snow that is forecast to begin falling across Piedmont Virginia early Saturday morning. Crews are working across the region and are ready for the storm, which is predicted to continue through Saturday evening.
Motorists are urged to avoid unnecessary travel during the storm since road conditions are likely to be hazardous. Temperatures are forecast to fall into the teens and that, coupled with heavy snow, will make roads extremely slick and possibly reduce visibility, especially before dawn.
On Thursday and Friday VDOT applied anti-icing chemicals to interstates and major primary highways across the region. As the snow begins to fall the brine solution prevents a bond from forming between the pavement surface and the snow.
VDOT crews will work all night, treating the roads with sand to improve traction and salt to help melt the snow and prevent it from bonding to the road surface. As the snow accumulates the crews will begin plowing. VDOT’s crews will focus their snow-removal efforts first on the interstates and primary highways and move to the secondary system as conditions warrant. VDOT will continue its emergency operations around the clock through the storm.
If travel is essential during the storm VDOT recommends that drivers reduce their speed and increase following distance in case they encounter slippery conditions.
Real-time road conditions and weather forecasts are available on VDOT’s traffic and travel Web site, www.511Virginia.org. The site also has live traffic camera images for many major highways, including Interstate 64, I-66 and Routes 29 and 250 in Central Virginia. Motorists can call 511 from any telephone in Virginia for road and traffic conditions on all major highways in the state.
VDOT offers the following tips for driving in winter weather:
• Postpone unnecessary travel until conditions improve. If you must drive, know the current road conditions and weather forecasts.
• 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.
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.