Lou Hatter 540-829-7537
Dec. 20, 2009
INTERSTATES, PRIMARY ROADS IN CENTRAL VA. OPEN BUT SNOW-COVERED
Route 29 remains closed south of Charlottesville; travel advisory still in effect
CULPEPER — Interstate and primary highways across Central Virginia have been plowed but remain covered with packed snow and motorists are still advised to avoid unnecessary travel this morning and to drive cautiously if they must be out on the roads.
Crews from the Virginia Department of Transportation have worked overnight to plow the roads and reopen all lanes of Interstate 64 and the primary highways in the region. All lanes on I-66 westbound in Fauquier County have been reopened after an earlier crash and resulting congestion.
The road conditions in most areas are listed as severe, with the road surface on both interstate and primary highways covered by packed snow. Early this morning icy conditions are likely since temperatures remain below freezing.
Route 29 in southern Albemarle County remains closed from I-64 south to the Nelson County line. Numerous tractor-trailers and other vehicles became stuck Friday night and emergency responders, including crews from the Virginia Department of Transportation, have been working since that time clearing the road, evacuating motorists and moving their vehicles out of the travel lanes. The road is expected to be reopened sometime today.
VDOT crews in some areas have begun plowing secondary roads and that work will continue today. VDOT’s goal is to have all roads passable within 48 hours after a storm ends. Due to the severity of this storm work on the secondary system will likely take several days before all roads have been made passable. VDOT crews will continue working around the clock until that is accomplished.
During the day Sunday crews will likely move back onto the primary and interstate highways to apply chemicals to help break up the packed snow so it can be plowed.
People who must travel should check VDOT’s traffic and travel Web site, www.511Virginia.org, for real-time road conditions and weather forecasts. The site also has live traffic camera images for many major highways, including I-64 and Routes 29 and 250 in Central Virginia.
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.
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.
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.