Brooke Grow 757-925-1515
Oct. 25, 2012
VDOT CREWS ARE WELL PREPARED FOR HURRICANE SANDY
All roads and facilities prepared for potential hurricane conditions
SUFFOLK— Hurricane season is upon us and crews with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) are ready. The state agency began preparing its crews and facilities for potential hurricane conditions in May, at the onset of the traditional hurricane season.
“While we’ve had a fairly mild summer so far, Hurricane Sandy is a good reminder that hurricane season is here,” said Perry Cogburn, director of the Transportation Emergency Operations Center. “At this stage, it is still unknown if the storm system will have much of an impact on Virginia, but we are monitoring her closely and taking every necessary precaution to make sure that we are well prepared for whatever she might send our way.”
VDOT has standard operating procedures for hurricanes so that employees involved know their roles, have been trained, and have practiced their roles during drills. Employees also have plenty of field experience from past hurricanes.
“We can’t predict the weather, but we are currently making all of the appropriate preparations and we are taking all of the proper precautions,” said Dwayne K. Cook, VDOT Regional Operations Director, Eastern Region. “We’re taking this very seriously because we have a responsibility to the citizens of the commonwealth.”
VDOT’s primary role before, during, and after a hurricane is to ensure that the roadways are safe for travel. Following a hurricane, VDOT crews will work to open any closed roads as quickly and safely as possible. Other responsibilities include:
• Setting up traffic control and detours; assisting with traffic control for evacuations
• Removing debris and branches from roadways and coordinating clean-up with other entities - such as power companies
• Making emergency repairs to damaged roads and bridges
• Assessing damages and providing emergency engineering services
• Coordinating long-term recovery to restore transportation infrastructure
• Providing emergency plans and procedures
• Providing back-up communications to support emergency response and recovery operations
• Communicating road condition information to the public through the Transportation Emergency Operations Center and Public Affairs
VDOT is monitoring the weather conditions and is in close communication with the National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center.
VDOT worked with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the localities
in Hampton Roads to develop facility closure guidelines for all area bridges and tunnels.
The guidelines outline how VDOT will track environmental factors and communicate
internally to safely close these facilities should they become dangerous for motorists or threatened by flooding.
Facility closure timing will be based on winds, storm surge, rain bands and actual conditions at the facility. Area residents should already have evacuated to permanent shelter prior to arrival of conditions that would trigger the closure of these facilities.
For more information about VDOT’s hurricane preparedness efforts please visit www.VDOT.Virginia.gov.
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.