Lauren Hansen 757-925-2583
Jan. 29, 2010
VDOT Prepared For Winter Storm
Motorists urged to avoid unnecessary travel
HAMPTON ROADS — The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is prepared for the snow that is forecast to begin falling across around Hampton Roads early Saturday morning. Crews are working across the region and are ready for the storm, which is predicted to continue through Sunday morning.
The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Winter Storm Warning for the Hampton Roads region. Heavy snow and/or sleet and ice are forecast to accumulate in the affected areas causing hazardous driving conditions. This system is expected to produce an average of nine to 15 inches of snow for the region with southside Hampton Roads getting the most accumulation.
Motorists are urged to avoid unnecessary travel during the storm since road conditions are likely to be hazardous. Temperatures are forecast to stay below freezing and that, coupled with heavy snow, will make roads extremely slick and possibly reduce visibility, especially before dawn.
On Thursday and Friday VDOT applied anti-icing chemicals to interstates and major primary highways across the region. As the snow begins to fall the brine solution prevents a bond from forming between the pavement surface and the snow.
Once snow starts to fall, VDOT crews will begin treating the roads with abrasives to improve traction. As the snow accumulates the crews will begin plowing. VDOT’s crews will focus their snow-removal efforts first on the interstates and primary highways and move to the secondary system as conditions warrant. VDOT will continue its emergency operations around the clock through the storm.
If travel is essential during the storm VDOT recommends that drivers reduce their speed and increase following distance in case they encounter slippery conditions.
Real-time road conditions and weather forecasts are available on VDOT’s traffic and travel Web site, www.511Virginia.org. Motorists can call 511 from any telephone in Virginia for road and traffic conditions on all major highways in the state.
VDOT offers the following tips for driving in winter weather:
- Postpone unnecessary travel until conditions improve. If you must drive, 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.
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.