Lou Hatter 540-829-7537
March 2, 2009
HEAVY SNOW, HIGH WINDS MAKE TRAVEL HAZARDOUS
VDOT crews clearing interstates, primary highways; motorists should avoid Afton Mountain
High winds gusting to 50 miles per hour and drifting snow are making travel on Interstate 64 across Afton Mountain extremely hazardous. Drivers in high-profile vehicles should be particularly cautious due to the high winds and consider delaying a crossing of the mountain pass. Snowplows are working on I-64 but the high winds and blowing snow are covering the road even after the plows pass through.
Most roads in Central Virginia are snow-covered but passable with caution. I-64 in Albemarle County east of Afton Mountain is reported snow-covered and slick due to blowing and drifting snow. Primary roads in Albemarle, Fluvanna, Louisa, Orange, Madison and Fauquier counties are in moderate condition, with most of the road surface covered with snow and ice. The same is true of Route 3 and Route 522 in eastern Culpeper County. Route 29 in Culpeper County is partially clear with patches of snow and ice.
To the north, Interstate 66 in Fauquier County is reported in minor condition, meaning that the surface is mostly clear with patches of snow and ice. Primary roads in Rappahannock County are in minor to moderate condition. Drivers should use caution while driving in those areas also due to high wind and blowing snow.
Secondary roads across Central Virginia are snow-covered and motorists should use extreme caution while traveling on those roads. Crews from the Virginia Department of Transportation are concentrating on interstate and primary highways and will move to the local, secondary roads once the high-volume highways are in good condition.
VDOT is advising motorists to avoid all non-essential travel during the storm. Motorists who must travel during the morning on Monday should be aware of the possibility of freezing conditions and black ice, particularly on bridges and overpasses, entrance and exit ramps and crossovers as well as roads at higher elevations.
VDOT offers the following tips for driving in winter weather:
• Before you begin your trip, know the current road conditions and weather forecasts.
Call 511 or visit www.511Virginia.org.
• 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.
Information about preparing for winter weather and other emergencies can be found at 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 with a one-stop shop for emergency preparedness tips and information.
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.