Lou Hatter 540-829-7537
Dec. 21, 2009
CAUTION ADVISED FOR CENTRAL VA. DRIVERS
Conditions improve but many roads still covered with packed snow
CULPEPER — The condition of most major roads across Central Virginia is improving but the Virginia Department of Transportation is advising residents to use extreme caution when driving this morning. Although most major roads are passable they have patches of frozen snow and icy conditions are likely, particularly during the morning commuting hours.
Interstate 66 east of Linden through Fauquier County is mostly clear but does have some patches of frozen snow and ice. Interstate 64 in from Afton Mountain east through Louisa County is also mostly clear but with slick spots.
Primary roads in Fauquier, Rappahannock, Culpeper, Madison, Orange, and Greene counties are mostly clear but all have patches of snow and ice that have refrozen overnight and motorists should use extreme caution on those roads. Primary roads in Fluvanna and Louisa counties range from mostly clear to mostly snow-covered. In Albemarle most primary roads are still in severe condition, with the surface largely covered with packed snow.
Route 29 south of Charlottesville was reopened to traffic Sunday afternoon but is still snow-covered and icy in some locations. Drivers are strongly advised against traveling on Route 29 between Interstate 64 and Nelson County. Route 53 south of Charlottesville was closed just after 6 p.m. Sunday due because icing conditions made the road too dangerous for travel overnight. The road is closed from Route 20 to the Fluvanna County line. On Monday morning commuters who usually use Route 53 to drive to Charlottesville should use Route 15 north to Interstate 64 or Route 250.
VDOT crews began plowing secondary routes across Central Virginia on Sunday and have made significant progress in making those roads passable. The roads are still covered with packed snow, however, and motorists should be aware that slick conditions are likely and drive accordingly.
Crews will continue working on the secondary system around the clock until all roads are passable. It is expected that plowing the secondary system may take several days in some areas due to the heavy snowfall. In some locations motor graders and front end loaders are being used to clear the roads because the snow is too heavy for plows to move.
Motorists should continue to drive with extreme caution over the next several days because accumulations of snow and slush are likely to remain on the roads due to near-freezing temperatures even during the day. At night temperatures are forecast to drop well below freezing and icy conditions will be widespread during the morning hours. VDOT crews will continue treating interstates and primary highways with salt and sand to combat overnight refreezing.
Real-time road conditions and weather forecasts are available on VDOT’s traffic and travel Web site, www.511Virginia.org. The site also has live traffic camera images for many major highways, including I-64 and Routes 29 and 250 in Central Virginia. Motorists can call 511 from any telephone in Virginia for road and traffic conditions on all major highways in the state.
Once conditions improve VDOT offers the following tips for driving in winter weather:
• Before you begin your trip, know the current road conditions and weather forecasts.
• Make sure your windows, mirrors and lights are clear of ice and snow.
• Always wear your seat belt.
• Allow extra time to travel to your destination.
• Be aware of potentially icy areas such as bridges, overpasses and shady spots. Also, if there is heavy snow, ice or high winds, be alert to potential driving hazards including downed branches, trees and electric lines.
• Reduce speed as appropriate and keep a safe distance of at least five seconds behind other vehicles and snowplows.
• Do not pass a snowplow unless it is absolutely necessary. Remember, the plow is clearing a path for you.
• Keep an emergency winter driving kit in your car. The kit should include a small bag of rock salt, sand or cat litter to provide traction in case you get stuck, a snowbrush and ice scraper, a flashlight, battery booster cables, a blanket and extra clothing.
• Practice common sense. Remember that your car cannot start, stop, or turn as quickly and surely on snow or ice as it does on dry pavement, so think and drive accordingly.
Note to reporters and editors: Additional information about VDOT’s preparations for winter weather, how the agency responds to snow and ice, FAQs and information about the technology and tools VDOT uses in its winter weather response is available on the Web, www.virginiadot.org/newsroom/snowseason.asp
Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.