Jeffrey Caldwell 804-786-2715


Nov. 9, 2009

Safety remains top priority during winter driving season

RICHMOND — As the 2009-2010 winter season approaches, emergency response, including snow- and ice-removal operations, continues unchanged as a core service of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).

“We remain committed to our mission as an emergency response agency.  During winter weather, drivers in Virginia count on us to keep people, services and goods moving safely from one corner of the commonwealth to the other,” said David S. Ekern, VDOT commissioner. “While VDOT is making tough decisions to balance a significant revenue shortfall, our snow- and ice-removal standards will not change.”

With a snow-removal budget of $79.6 million, VDOT’s preparations ensure that all state-maintained roads remain safe during the 2009-2010 winter season.  VDOT has also budgeted $14.1 million for snow and ice removal on interstate and primary roads maintained through its interstate maintenance contracts.

“Together with our private-sector partners, VDOT begins preparing for winter long before the first sign of a snowflake.” Ekern said. “We have tested equipment, prepared our crew members and stocked our supplies to provide the best possible emergency response when the snow and ice begin.”

Last year, VDOT expanded the use of the latest anti-icing techniques and will continue to use these methods during the 2009-2010 snow season.  Anti-icing involves applying chemicals to roadways before a storm to prepare the pavement and prevent a bond from forming between the surface and the snow and ice.  VDOT will use anti-icing chemicals, including salt brine, magnesium chloride and calcium chloride, on roads around the state this winter.

Preparations for winter weather begin every year in the summer and continue through the winter.  This year, VDOT has 2,314 pieces of snow removal equipment, 3,146 crew members, 62,000 tons of sand and 239,000 tons of salt available to keep roads clear.

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 has a variety of information sources for road condition updates.  The 511 traveler-information service gives drivers the most up-to-date data available about weather, construction or accidents that may affect travel.  Updates can be received by calling 511 from any landline or wireless phone or by going online to to view traffic cameras, the road condition map and the road condition table-report.  Individuals can sign up for e-mail alerts that include weather and incident reporting on the 511 Web site.

For overall winter-weather information, VDOT’s Web site includes frequently asked questions, driving tips and tools for motorists to learn more about VDOT’s winter preparedness at

For more information about Virginia’s efforts to prepare for winter weather and other emergencies, visit  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 and visitors with a one-stop shop for emergency-preparedness tips and information.




Editor’s Note: VDOT public affairs staff will be holding media availabilities statewide today to discuss snow preparedness and to provide demonstrations of VDOT equipment. To get in touch with your regional public affairs representative, visit

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.

Page last modified: Oct. 17, 2012