February 12, 2013
As the biggest snowstorm of the year bears down on Central Virginia, road crews say they've done all they can ahead of it to make the cleanup process easier.
"Our crews are working on making sure all the equipment is ready, the trucks are loaded with sand and salt, plows attached and everything's ready to go," said Lou Hatter, spokesman for the Virginia Department of Transportation.
VDOT crews have pre-treated a number of highways and secondary roads with a brine solution, and they will continue into the night. More than 700 pieces of equipment will be active in the Culpeper District, which includes nine counties in Central Virginia.
"Our goal is to get every state-maintained road passable within 48 hours after the storm ends, and we'll be working 24 hours a day to get that done," Hatter said.
Many others at VDOT are working behind the scenes in their "emergency duty" roles, making sure all operations in the field go smoothly.
The brining process is also underway in the City of Charlottesville. The city makes its own brine at a facility on Avon Street Extended from a combination of 23 percent brine and 77 percent water.
At the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport, many flights were already delayed as early as noon on Wednesday.
"Storms like this certainly work you a lot harder than a 4-inch snow," airport deputy executive director Bill Pahuta said. "We'll do our best to keep things rolling and just check our website and your airline to get the latest."
CHO doesn't pre-treat the runways. Instead, crews will tackle the accumulation as it hits.
"Our indication is this is pretty much going to be a snowstorm, so we'll just be out with our brooms, plows and blowers," Pahuta said. "We usually pre-treat when it's going to be an ice storm."
VDOT said this is the 17th winter weather event to which the department has responded this season, but they anticipate this to be the biggest.