Joan Morris 703-259-1799
Jennifer McCord 703-259-1779
Dec. 19, 2009
BLIZZARD-LIKE CONDITIONS ON NORTHERN VIRGINIA ROADS
Drivers urged to avoid all unnecessary travel as height of storm passes area
CHANTILLY – As road crews continue to work around the clock plowing and treating roads this weekend, the Virginia Department of Transportation continues to urge drivers to postpone all unnecessary travel today. If motorists must travel, they are asked to visit www.511virginia.org for up-to-date road conditions and traffic camera video.
At this time interstates and most major arteries remain passable, though conditions will vary between continuous passes being made by snowplows throughout the day. Crews are now also plowing subdivision streets throughout Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun counties. Conditions are expected to deteriorate on all roadways as the height of the storm hits the region.
Some known problem areas at this time:
- Westbound I-66 just east of Route 28 is slow with heavy traffic, but no incidents reported.
- Westbound I-66 near exit 47 (Route 234 bypass) is slow due to several previously stranded vehicles.
VDOT has more than 1,700 plows, spreaders and other pieces of equipment working the storm in northern Virginia. VDOT crews will continue working around the clock through the storm. VDOT’s goal is to have all roads passable within 48 hours after a storm ends.
Crews first clear interstates, primary roads and routes that connect localities, fire stations, employment hubs, military posts, schools, hospitals and other important public facilities. They will then treat secondary roads and subdivision streets if multi-day storms hit Virginia, but crews will focus efforts on roads carrying the most traffic.
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 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.