VDOT News - Statewide
Feb. 14, 2021
STORM CAUSES MAJOR IMPACTS TO SOUTH-CENTRAL VIRGINIA
Long term recovery effort underway, avoid travel if possible throughout the Richmond region
RICHMOND, Va. – An ice storm that swept through the Commonwealth on Saturday, Feb. 13, left widespread scattered debris, fallen trees and downed utility lines on numerous routes. The Richmond region was hit hardest, with thousands of trees blocking travel lanes and more falling each minute due to heavy ice accumulation on branches.
The Virginia Department of Transportation urges drivers to postpone immediate travel in the region as trees continue falling, particularly on the Interstate 85 corridor.
Downed trees and power lines impacted interstates 85 and 95 overnight, and continue to cause hazards. The ground is saturated from excess precipitation and heavy ice remains on branches throughout the district. With these elements combined, more falling trees are expected.
Teams are prioritizing essential travel routes, including major primary routes and secondary routes connecting drivers to emergency services. From there, crews will focus on lower volume routes.
“The highest priority is the safety of our employees and drivers,” said VDOT Richmond District Maintenance Engineer Sean Nelson, P.E. “If they can safely do so, crews are beginning to cut fallen trees and relocate them to the shoulders. In many cases, trees are falling at too fast a pace to allow safe access for crews. Once trees are cut and moved out of travel lanes, we can focus on removing tree debris from the roadsides.”
Crews are assessing roads impacted in the 14-county Richmond District and making plans to remove trees from travel lanes in the weeks ahead. VDOT is working closely with emergency service and utility providers to maintain access to life-saving resources and safely remove power lines from the roads. Although the ultimate goal is to reopen roads as quickly as possible, the reality is that recovery work will be long term and multi-phased.
It is crucial to remember that any fallen utility lines may still be energized, and to avoid touching them or attempting to move any tree debris near them. Anyone who notices a road hazard is encouraged to report it by calling VDOT’s Customer Service Center at 800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623) or visit online at my.vdot.virginia.gov/.
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