Jeffrey Caldwell 804-786-2715

Dec. 4, 2009

Drivers reminded to use caution and plan ahead for this weekend’s winter storm

RICHMOND — Crews with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) mobilized today in anticipation of a weekend winter storm that could bring a dose of winter weather to much of the state. 

VDOT has been closely monitoring weather conditions throughout the week and crews began preparations today in those parts of the state that are anticipating snow. The agency sprayed anti-icing chemicals on pavements and bridges, and prepared personnel, supplies and equipment to address this weekend’s weather.

“We remain committed to our mission as an emergency response agency. As this year’s winter weather season sets in, Virginians count on us to keep people, services and goods moving safely around the commonwealth,” said David S. Ekern, VDOT commissioner. “Our crews have prepared since this summer for our snow-removal duties, and we are ready to respond to Mother Nature’s weekend plans.”

Driving Tips

VDOT reminds motorists to use caution when driving during wintry weather. 

Drivers should:

  • Check road conditions before they leave home by calling 511 or logging in to

  • Slow down and allow for extra time to reach your destination

  • Be aware of potentially icy areas such as shady spots and bridges

  • Keep a safe distance of at least five seconds behind other vehicles and trucks that are plowing the road

  • Do not pass a snowplow or spreader unless it is absolutely necessary


VDOT has designated a snow-removal budget of $79.6 million to ensure that all state-maintained roads remain safe during the 2009-2010 winter season. 

The agency has also budgeted $14.1 million for snow and ice removal on interstate and primary roads maintained through its interstate maintenance contracts.

VDOT’s Winter Weather Tools

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.

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.

Priorities for Clearing Roads

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 Virginia, but crews will focus efforts on those roads that carry the most traffic.

Motorist Resources

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 and 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

Drivers can also view videos detailing how VDOT prepares for winter weather and address snow and ice on You Tube. Snow videos are posted 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 available to address any snow-removal media requests throughout the weekend. 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