Tamara Rollison 804-786-2715
Shannon N. Marshall 804-371-6844

Nov. 30, 2012

Budget for 2012-2013 snow-removal activities is $145 million

RICHMOND – The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) got a head start on its annual preparations for winter weather when Superstorm Sandy dropped up to two feet of snow in parts of the state last month. The agency spent nearly $3.3 million on snow removal and other work to clear affected roads.

VDOT’s budget for snow-removal activities for the 2012-2013 season is $145 million. However, the agency will use whatever resources necessary to keep Virginia’s roads and highways clear and safe, no matter the weather.

“Motorists depend on VDOT to deploy the necessary personnel, equipment, materials and technology to keep traffic moving as soon as possible after inclement weather impedes a roadway,” said VDOT Commissioner Greg Whirley. “This winter, VDOT is piloting new technologies, processes and equipment in northern Virginia to respond more quickly to the public before, during and after a winter storm. For example, we will activate a Web tool introduced last January that tracks the status of plowing in heavily populated northern Virginia neighborhoods after it snows two inches or more.”

The snowplow-tracker map is at A video on how to use the website is available on VDOT’s YouTube site at More information on the specific tools VDOT will be using in northern Virginia is at

VDOT advises motorists to be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions during the winter. Have a plan. Most importantly, be where you need to be before the weather gets bad.

To avoid accidents during winter storms, VDOT always suggests delaying travel when possible. And if you see a slow-moving snowplow or other vehicles treating roads, please slow down and give the operators the right of way for both their safety and yours.

Before traveling, get the latest traffic conditions by calling 511, or go to You can also download the free 511 mobile app at

VDOT Budget, Equipment, Materials

For the 2012-2013 winter season, VDOT has a statewide snow-removal budget of $145 million. VDOT budgeted $126 million for snow-removal activities during the 2011-2012 snow season, which was fairly mild compared to the previous two winters. The agency only spent $63.8 million on preparation, anti-icing and snow removal last winter, using the remaining $62.2 million on needed maintenance.

In comparison, Virginia spent $207.9 million for snow-removal operations during the winter of 2010-2011 and $266.8 million in 2009-2010, two of the state’s harshest winters in recent memory.

Bristol 698 $13,968,639
Culpeper 761 $  9,405,439
Fredericksburg 899 $  6,638,380
Hampton Roads 372 $  4,216,040
Lynchburg 582 $  4,519,456
Northern Virginia 4,074 $55,767,803
Richmond 1,128 $10,376,222
Salem 903 $15,900,560
Staunton 969 $10,480,821
Statewide reserves   $14,121,781
TOTAL 10,386 $145,395,141

VDOT has 2,424 pieces of state equipment, approximately 7,144 pieces of hired equipment and 818 pieces of interstate contractor equipment available for snow- and ice-control activities.

Hired equipment includes both companies and individuals and their equipment that VDOT keeps on call to clear snow. This is an on-going process during the winter; hence the equipment numbers could vary each month.

Materials and supplies in stock for snow and ice removal include: 340,000 tons of salt; 95,000 tons of sand; 49,000 tons of treated abrasives; 440,000 gallons of liquid calcium chloride; and 136,000 gallons of liquid magnesium chloride. VDOT replenishes supplies as they are used through the winter.

Pre-Treating Roads

When snow or ice is predicted, VDOT crews pre-treat trouble spots on interstates and other high-volume roads with anti-icing chemicals, including salt brine, magnesium chloride and calcium chloride.

These chemicals prevent a bond from forming between the road’s surface and the frozen precipitation before a storm. 

Road Priorities

VDOT’s goal is to have all state-maintained roads passable within 48 hours after a winter storm ends.

Crews first begin clearing interstates, primary roads and major secondary roads that connect localities, fire stations, employment hubs, military posts, schools, hospitals and other important public facilities. Secondary roads and subdivision streets will be treated if multiday storms hit the commonwealth, but crews will focus efforts on those roads that carry the most traffic.

A statewide network of 77 weather sensors in roadways and bridges, plus 22 mobile video data platforms, allows crews to quickly identify when and where road surfaces might be freezing.


Travel Resources

        Call 511 or use the 511 website for real-time updates on Virginia road conditions and traffic incidents.

  • 800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623)

        Report road hazards or ask road-related questions at VDOT’s 24-hour Customer Service Center.

  • Twitter

        Visit to follow a regional 511 traffic data feed.

       Follow @VaDOT – ( for VDOT updates, news and information on projects and programs.

  • Facebook

        “Like”  to learn more about VDOT news and programs, and to receive updates.

  • YouTube 

        Visit VDOT’s YouTube site ( for videos on snow removal and many other topics.

  • VDOT’s website ( has up-to-date news and information on agency projects, programs and other topics.
    • How VDOT prepares for emergencies and what residents and visitors can do:


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.

Page last modified: March 10, 2017