Lou Hatter 540-829-7537
Dec. 19, 2009
ROADS REMAIN HAZARDOUS AS STORM CONTINUES
Motorists urged to delay travel until conditions improve
CULPEPER — Roads across Central Virginia are snow-covered and driving is extremely hazardous. Emergency crews are still working to reopen Route 29 in southern Albemarle County between Route 692 (Plank Road) and the Nelson County line. Several crashes last night stopped traffic along that highway and emergency responders, including crews from the Virginia Department of Transportation, are clearing the road and evacuating motorists and their vehicles.
Motorists are strongly advised to avoid travel as this dangerous winter storm continues. Snow accumulations in Central Virginia range from 12 inches in Fauquier County to 18-inches-plus in the Charlottesville area.
Heavy snow continues to fall and blowing and drifting snow is adding to the accumulation in some locations. VDOT crews have been working overnight to keep the interstate and primary highways open in Central Virginia. At this hour Interstate 64 and I-66 are passable but there are significant accumulations of packed snow on the highways and drifting snow may be a problem.
All other roads in the Culpeper District are in severe condition, which means that significant accumulations of snow are blocking parts of the roadways but they remain open and passable with extreme caution. The Culpeper District includes Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna, Louisa, Madison, Orange, Culpeper, Fauquier and Rappahannock counties. Some secondary roads may be impassable due to the accumulating snowfall and drifting.
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 crews will continue working around the clock through the storm. VDOT’s goal 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.
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.
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.
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.