January 29, 2010
Virginia Department of Transportation crews have readied their snowplows, checked salt and sand supplies, scheduled personnel for weekend shifts and have begun full preparations for this weekend’s winter weather.
Crews have also applied anti-icing chemicals on many of the commonwealth’s most traveled pavements and bridges to prevent icy conditions and to help make plowing more efficient.
“As always, our crews will be out in full force this weekend to maintain roadways that are safe and keep people, services and goods moving efficiently throughout the commonwealth,” said Gregory A. Whirley, acting VDOT commissioner. “Our crews will be working around-the-clock beginning today [Friday] in all areas of the state and they will stay fully engaged until roads are passable following the storm.”
VDOT reminds motorists to use caution when driving during wintry weather. Drivers should:
-- Check road conditions before they leave home by calling 511 or logging in to www.511virginia.org.
-- Slow down and allow for extra time to reach your destination.
-- Be aware of potentially icy areas such as shady spots and bridges.
-- Keep a safe distance of at least five seconds behind other vehicles and trucks that are plowing the road.
-- Do not pass a snowplow or spreader unless it is absolutely necessary.
VDOT’s Winter Weather Tools
VDOT continues to use the latest anti-icing techniques. Anti-icing involves applying chemicals to roadways before a storm to prepare the pavement and prevent a bond from forming between the surface and the snow and ice. VDOT will use anti-icing chemicals, including salt brine, magnesium chloride and calcium chloride, on roads around the state this winter.
VDOT has 2,314 pieces of snow removal equipment, 3,146 crew members, 62,000 tons of sand and 239,000 tons of salt available to keep roads clear.
Priorities for Clearing Roads
VDOT’s goal for typical snowstorms is to have all roads passable within 48 hours after a storm ends. Crews first clear interstates, primary roads and major secondary roads that connect localities, fire stations, employment hubs, military posts, schools, hospitals and other important public facilities. They will then treat secondary roads and subdivision streets if multi-day storms hit Virginia, but crews will focus efforts on those roads that carry the most traffic.
VDOT has a variety of information sources for road condition updates. The 511 traveler-information service gives drivers the most up-to-date data available about weather, construction and accidents that may affect travel. Updates can be received by calling 511 from any landline or wireless phone or by going online to www.511virginia.org to view traffic cameras, the road condition map and the road condition table-report. Individuals can sign up for e-mail alerts that include weather and incident reporting on the 511 Web site.
For overall winter weather information, VDOT’s Web site includes frequently asked questions, driving tips and tools for motorists to learn more about VDOT’s winter preparedness here.
Drivers can also view videos detailing how VDOT prepares for winter weather and address snow and ice on You Tube. Snow videos are posted here.
For more information about Virginia’s efforts to prepare for winter weather and other emergencies, visit www.ReadyVirginia.gov. The National Weather Service, Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Virginia Department of Social Services and other state agencies have created the “Ready Virginia” resource to provide residents and visitors with a one-stop shop for emergency preparedness tips and information.