Lou Hatter 540-829-7537
Dec. 5, 2009
VDOT CLEANS UP AFTER WINTER’S FIRST SNOW
Crews remain on duty overnight; motorists advised to use caution while driving
CULPEPER – The Virginia Department of Transportation is cleaning up after the season’s first snow, with crews on duty overnight clearing secondary roads and treating areas where moisture may freeze on road surfaces overnight as temperatures drop below freezing. Most roads are reported clear of snow but are wet and motorists 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 overnight and early Sunday morning.
Crews from VDOT’s Culpeper District have been on duty since early Saturday morning and will continue emergency operations on Sunday. With sunshine and daytime temperatures forecast to rise into the 40s it is expected that most of the moisture that remains on the roads will evaporate during the day Sunday.
Crews will patrols the roads overnight Saturday, concentrating on areas where freezing is most likely, including bridge decks, highway ramps, roads at high elevations and in low areas near bodies of water. Salt and sand will be used to prevent freezing and provide traction.
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 the Virginia, but crews will focus efforts on those roads that carry the most traffic.
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.