Lou Hatter 540-829-7537
Kerrie Humphreys 540-829-7500
Dec. 20, 2009
VDOT ADVISES AGAINST OVERNIGHT TRAVEL
Crews will continue working overnight to clear secondaries, address freezing conditions
CULPEPER — The condition of most major roads across Central Virginia is improving but the Virginia Department of Transportation is still advising residents to delay all non-essential travel Sunday night and early Monday morning. A particular concern is Route 29 south of Charlottesville, which was reopened to traffic this 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. 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 will continue that work 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.
- 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, http://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.