Jeffrey Caldwell 804-786-2715
Dec. 26, 2010
VDOT CREWS OUT IN FULL FORCE TO CLEAR ROADS
RICHMOND—Today’s winter storm has produced significant snowfall throughout much of the commonwealth, with the heaviest impact in portions of Virginia east of Interstate 95.
Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews and contractors are out in full force to clear snow and ice from roadways and to prepare for additional snowfalls forecast for later today.
The agency encourages motorists to avoid all unnecessary travel, especially in the Hampton Roads region.
VDOT’s goal is to have all roads passable within 48 hours after a storm ends. Across the state, crews first focus on interstates and major primary roads.
Secondary roads and subdivision streets will be addressed following primaries.
Many roads, including plowed roads, may still have black ice. Motorists are encouraged to use caution if they must drive, and contact 511 or www.511virginia.org to get the latest in road closures and traveler information.
How Citizens Can Help
Citizens can help expedite the snow-removal process by staying home if possible during severe weather.
Citizens should also remove their cars from the roadway when they can. This will help crews clear the snow from area roads as efficiently as possible.
Last winter, as road conditions deteriorated throughout the winter storms, crashes and abandoned or disabled vehicles became significant impediment to clearing the roads of snow and ice.
Motorists can call VDOT’s new Customer Service Center at 1-800-FOR-ROAD (1-800-367-7623) if they witness unsafe conditions on the roadways or if they have questions about VDOT activities.
Citizens should still call 511 for traffic and road conditions.
- Check road conditions before they leave home by calling 511 or logging in to 511Virginia.org
- Slow down and allow for extra time to reach your destination
- Be aware of potentially icy areas such as shady spots and bridges
- Keep a safe distance of at least five seconds behind other vehicles and trucks that are plowing the road
- Do not pass a snowplow or spreader unless it is absolutely necessary
- Motorists waiting in traffic should:
- Stay in their cars
- Conserve their fuel by not running the engine continuously. VDOT recommends running the car engine for heat for 10 minutes and then turning off the engine for 20 minutes. Make sure snow is not blocking the exhaust pipe to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Understand that it will take time for emergency crews to reach them, but state and local personnel are working to get to them
- Motorists should only call #77 and 911 for emergencies. Road condition information is available by calling 511 or by visiting http://www.511virginia.org. To report road conditions or to ask a question about VDOT activities, call 1-800-FOR-ROAD (1-800-367-7623).
VDOT resources available to combat dangerous winter weather include:
8,053 including 2,226 state vehicles, 5,293 pieces of hired equipment, and 534 pieces of interstate maintenance contractor equipment
Supplies are replenished as they are used and include:
282,000 tons of salt
75,000 tons of sand
48,000 tons of treated abrasives
330,000 gallons of liquid calcium chloride
138,000 gallons of liquid magnesium chloride
208 tons of magnesium chloride
26 tons of calcium chloride
292,000 gallons of salt brine (made at some locations).
A statewide network of 77 weather sensors in roadways and bridges, plus 16 mobile video data platforms allows VDOT maintenance crews to quickly identify when and where road surfaces might be freezing.
VDOT has a variety of information sources for road condition updates.
The 511 traveler-information service gives drivers the most up-to-date data available about weather, construction and accidents that may affect travel.
Updates can be received by calling 511 from any landline or wireless phone or by going online to www.511virginia.org to view traffic cameras, the road condition map and the road condition table-report.
Individuals can sign up for e-mail alerts that include weather and incident reporting on the 511 Web site.
For overall winter weather information, VDOT’s Web site includes frequently asked questions, driving tips and tools for motorists to learn more about VDOT’s winter preparedness at http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/snow.asp.
Drivers can also view videos detailing how VDOT prepares for winter weather and address snow and ice on You Tube. Snow videos are posted at http://www.youtube.com/user/vdotweb#grid/user/84A0942814F2FECC
For more information about Virginia’s efforts to prepare for winter weather and other emergencies, visit www.ReadyVirginia.gov.
The National Weather Service, Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Virginia Department of Social Services and other state agencies have created the “Ready Virginia” resource to provide residents and visitors with a one-stop shop for emergency preparedness tips and information.
Editor’s Note: VDOT public affairs staff will be available to address any snow-removal media requests throughout the weekend. To get in touch with your regional public affairs representative, visit http://www.virginiadot.org/newsroom/media_contacts.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.