Jeffrey Caldwell 804-786-2715
Feb. 4, 2010
VDOT RALLIES FOR ANOTHER MAJOR WEATHER EVENT
Crews ready for major winter storm as agency identifies additional snow-removal funding
RICHMOND — Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews have hardly had a chance to park their snowplows, restock salt and sand supplies, and get rest between blasts of winter weather in the past few weeks.
The agency has rallied its resources and is ready to address a major winter storm expected to impact much of the commonwealth Friday and Saturday.
VDOT crews are still completing cleanup efforts from two other winter storms that impacted parts of Virginia in the past week.
Meanwhile they are restocking salt and sand supplies and applying anti-icing chemicals on many of the commonwealth’s most traveled pavements and bridges in anticipation of this weekend’s wintry mix.
VDOT has expended the $79 million it allotted statewide for snow-removal efforts this year as of Feb. 1, and has now tapped into emergency maintenance reserve funds to pay for snow removal.
Once that $25 million reserve fund is exhausted, VDOT will move money from non-safety-related maintenance programs to cover any additional snow removal needs this winter.
“Motorist safety is always the top priority for VDOT — whether responding to winter weather or when conducting day-to-day operations,” said Gregory Whirley, acting commissioner.
“We will not reduce service levels or scale back on snow-removal efforts regardless of how much it costs this year. Our crews will be out in full force this week and for the rest of the winter no matter what the impact is to our budget. We will not cut back on our work to make Virginia’s roadways safer for drivers, despite our funding challenges.”
The following tips and resources can help motorists stay safe.
VDOT’s Winter Weather Tools
VDOT continues to use the latest anti-icing techniques.
Anti-icing involves applying chemicals to roadways before a storm to prepare the pavement and prevent a bond from forming between the surface and the snow and ice.
VDOT will use anti-icing chemicals, including salt brine, magnesium chloride and calcium chloride, on roads around the state this winter.
VDOT has 2,314 pieces of snow removal equipment, 3,146 crew members, 62,000 tons of sand and 239,000 tons of salt available to keep roads clear.
VDOT reminds motorists to use caution when driving during wintry weather.
- Check road conditions before they leave home by calling 511 or logging in to www.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
Priorities for Clearing Roads
VDOT’s goal for typical snowstorms is to have all roads passable within 48 hours after a storm ends.
Crews first clear interstates, primary roads and major secondary roads 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 those roads that carry the most traffic.
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.
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 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 storm.
To get in touch with your regional public affairs representative, visit http://www.virginiadot.org/newsroom/media_contacts.asp.
There are many photos, videos and interactive snow tools available at www.VirginiaDOT.org/snow.
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.