Lou Hatter 540-829-7537
Jan. 26, 2011
ICING REPORTED IN ALBEMARLE, LOUISA, FAUQUIER
Road conditions across Virginia are changing rapidly as winter storm continues
CULPEPER — Road conditions are mixed across Central Virginia but most areas will see accumulating snow later this afternoon as the rain that has fallen most of the day turns to sleet and snow. Roads in the Charlottesville area, in Louisa County and to the north in Fauquier County are reported to have patches of snow and ice, with more precipitation accumulating on the secondary roads.
Crews from the Virginia Department of Transportation and contractors are working across the region. In most areas sand and salt are being spread to increase traction and prevent the sleet and snow from bonding to the road surface. When the precipitation turns to snow and begins to accumulate the crews will begin plowing. The crews are focusing their snow-removal efforts first on the interstate and primary highways, then shifting to the secondary road system (roads numbered 600 and above). VDOT’s goal is to make all roads passable within 48 hours after the storm ends.
Motorists should be aware that road conditions across much of Virginia are expected to change rapidly this afternoon as the winter storm continues. Residents are urged to postpone non-essential travel on Wednesday evening and to check current road conditions before driving. Winter storm conditions are expected to continue overnight Wednesday and into Thursday morning.
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. Call 800-FOR-ROAD (367-7623) to report road hazards or ask transportation-related questions.
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/statewide/2010/virginia_ready_for_severe49569.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.