VDOT Budgets $145M for This Winter's Snow

November 30, 2012

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has budgeted $145 million for snow removal this Winter season.

Last Winter VDOT spent $63.8 million on snow removal operations.

However, during the big storms of 2009 into 2010 Virginia spent $266.8 million on removing snow.

Below is the official press release from VDOT.

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 http://novasnowplowing.virginia.gov/. A video on how to use the website is available on VDOT’s YouTube site at http://youtu.be/HMRaItZLgyo. More information on the specific tools VDOT will be using in northern Virginia is at http://www.virginiadot.org/newsroom/northern_virginia/2012/vdot_has_new_tools61771.asp.

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 www.511virginia.org. You can also download the free 511 mobile app at http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/511.asp#app

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.

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.

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