Britt Drewes Farrar 804-225-4491


Dec. 20, 2009

Agency advises motorists to avoid Interstate 81 North and Route 29

RICHMOND—Sunny skies have appeared across Virginia but VDOT crews continue to work clearing roads after the commonwealth’s biggest snow storm in decades. Motorists are urged to stay off the roads despite the sunny weather, and particularly avoid Interstate 81 North near Rockbridge County and Route 29 in Charlottesville.

VDOT is working closely with Virginia State Police, National Guard and local governments to get traffic moving and to assist motorists throughout the commonwealth including I-81 North in Rockbridge County and Route 29 in Charlottesville where disabled vehicles are blocking traffic.

VDOT’s goal is to have all roads passable within 48 hours after a storm ends. Across the state crews have cleared most interstates and are now beginning plow and salt primary roads. Secondary roads and subdivision streets will be addressed following primaries.

Many roads, including plowed roads, may have black ice. Motorists are encouraged to stay off roads today, but the agency urges motorists to use caution if they must drive, and contact 511 or to get the latest in road closures and traveler information.

Driving Tips

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
  • Motorists waiting in traffic should:
    • Stay in their cars
    • Conserve their fuel by not running the engine continuously.  VDOT recommends running the car engine for heat for 10 minutes and then turning off the engine for 20 minutes.  Make sure snow is not blocking the exhaust pipe to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
    • Understand that it will take time for emergency crews to reach them, but state and local personnel are working to get to them
  • Motorists should only call #77 and 911 for emergencies.  Road condition information is available by calling 511 or by visiting

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