Jeffrey Caldwell 804-786-2715
Nov. 10, 2008
SAFETY IS TOP PRIORITY FOR WINTER DRIVING SEASON
VDOT Prepares Response For Winter Weather
Keeping the roads safe during winter travels takes everyone’s cooperation. Motorists play a vital role in ensuring that everyone gets to their destinations safely when Old Man Winter visits Virginia.
VDOT reminds motorists of a few simple steps they can take to stay safe this winter:
- Check your vehicle to be sure it is running properly before winter driving season.
Always buckle your seat belts.
Drive slowly and increase your following distance between you and the car ahead of you. Adjust your speed for the conditions.
Do not pass a snow plow unless you absolutely have to, and give plows room to do their work.
- Know the road conditions before you leave home. For the latest on road condition and traffic during winter storms, visit www.511virginia.org.
VDOT Preparations for Winter Weather
VDOT has worked since this summer to prepare more than 3,200 crewmembers and 3,700 pieces of snow-removal equipment.
It has also reserved $75.8 million to cover the equipment, supplies and manpower necessary to deal with this year’s winter weather.
The agency has also contracted with private vendors to secure an additional 4,300 pieces of snow-removal equipment and personnel to be used if needed.
“VDOT prepares for emergencies year-round, and our winter weather preparations begin during the hot summer months so that we are ready whenever winter arrives,” said David S. Ekern, VDOT commissioner. “We are passionate about our emergency response mission, and VDOT crews and our private-sector partners practice techniques, test equipment and stock supplies so that we can keep Virginia’s roadways as safe as possible.”
With 234,000 tons of salt and 62,200 tons of sand on hand this year, preparations are complete to clear snow and ice from nearly 58,000 miles of state-maintained interstates, primary and secondary roads and subdivision streets throughout Virginia.
Cities, towns and Henrico and Arlington counties also perform snow removal within their jurisdictions.
VDOT continues working to find better and more efficient ways to provide critical services to citizens of the commonwealth. “We are going to be sure that our crews stay ahead of storms and we are going to work smarter,” Ekern said.
VDOT aims to have all roads passable within 48 hours after the storm ends.
Crews begin by clearing interstates, primary roads and major secondary roads that connect localities, fire stations, employment hubs, military posts, schools, hospitals and other important public facilities.
Secondary roads and subdivision streets will be treated if multi-day storms hit the commonwealth, but crews will focus efforts on those roads that carry the most traffic.
“This may mean some smaller roads or subdivision streets are not plowed as they have been in the past,” Ekern said. “We will still respond to every storm, but citizens may experience more snow storms where subdivision streets covered with only an inch or two of snow are left to melt rather than dedicating our resources to these areas.”
This winter, VDOT will also expand the use of the latest anti-icing techniques. Anti-icing involves applying chemicals to roadways before a storm to prepare the pavement and prevent a bond from forming between the roadway and snow and ice. VDOT will use anti-icing chemicals including salt brine, magnesium-chloride and calcium-chloride on around the state this winter and, with success, will expand the program in future winter seasons.
Additional Winter Weather Resources
VDOT has developed additional tools to help motorists get the latest information about road conditions before they leave home or while they are on the road. VDOT launched an improved 511 traveler information service to give motorists the most up-to-date information available about weather, construction or accidents that may impact travel. For the latest on road condition and traffic during winter storms, motorists should visit www.511virginia.org.
VDOT has a Web page full of information, driving tips and tools for citizens to learn more about VDOT’s winter weather preparedness at http://www.virginiadot.org/news/snowseason.asp.
For more information about Virginia’s efforts to prepare for winter weather and other emergencies, visit 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 citizens with a one-stop shop for emergency preparedness tips and information.
Editor’s note: Various VDOT snow plow photographs, audio clips, video and fact sheets are available at http://www.virginiadot.org/news/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.