Britt Drewes Farrar 804-225-4491
Jeffrey Caldwell 804-786-2715
Dec. 19, 2009
VDOT URGES MOTORISTS TO STAY OFF ROADS
Roads across the state considered dangerous as major winter storm continues to roll through
RICHMOND—VDOT crews are working across the state to respond to one of the largest winter storms experienced in the commonwealth in many years. Roads, including many interstates in the western part of the state, are considered treacherous, and VDOT is urging motorists to stay off the roads.
VDOT emergency responders have worked throughout the night to treat and clear roads in all areas of the state. Snow removal efforts will continue throughout the duration of the storm.
In some areas, including portions of Interstate 81 in Montgomery County and I-77 in Wythe County, localities and police have reportedly initiated evacuation efforts for motorists stranded on impassable roads. Motorists should call 911 if they are stranded on any roadway.
VDOT is encouraging residents to stay off roads. However, the agency reminds motorists to use caution if they must drive in this winter weather, and contact 511 or www.511virginia.org to get the latest in road closures and traveler information.
• Check road conditions before they leave home by calling 511 or logging in to 511Virginia.org
• 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’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.
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 www.511virginia.org 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 http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/snow.asp.
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 http://www.youtube.com/user/vdotweb#grid/user/84A0942814F2FECC
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 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 http://www.virginiadot.org/newsroom/media_contacts.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.