December 1, 2006
While winter is still a few weeks way, the Virginia Department of Transportation is already gearing up for the potential of winter weather.
“Depending on the forecast, if we're fairly confident there's going to be a snow event, we'll do what's called staging which means we'll have not the entire crews, but we'll have enough crews out and they'll be strategically located at various points throughout the county,” said Darin Simpson, one of VDOT’s Residency Administrators.
The Commonwealth of Virginia will spend over 80-million dollars of it's budget for snow removal this winter alone.
But, with almost sixty-thousand miles of roads across the state, VDOT couldn't afford to start this task too late.
In early fall, crews began to practice their assigned snow routes and more than 3500 pieces of snow removal equipment were checked and repaired if need be.
“A good example is last Wednesday, the Wednesday before thanksgiving; there were some concerns about icing and an ice storm. We did stage our equipment on Afton Mountain and up in green county on (route) 33,” said Simpson.
VDOT officials tell us that even though their number one job is keeping our roads safe; there are also a few things you can do to make them even safer.
Simpson suggests, “Reduce your speed, increase you following distance, give yourself extra time to get where you need to go, also utilize our 5-11 system.”
VDOT says their job isn't just about plowing roads and putting down salt, but they also work hard to keep the roads as clear and as safe as possible; that way more businesses and schools can stay open if we should get any snow.
VDOT also told us they try to make all roads passable within 48 hours after a storm ends.