Joe Vagi 804-371-8304
Aug. 26, 2011
VDOT PREPARED FOR HURRICANE IRENE
Personnel and equipment ready for timely response
RICHMOND — Statewide Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews stand ready to respond to any unsafe conditions and damage resulting from Hurricane Irene, which is expected to arrive off the coast of Virginia early Saturday morning.
VDOT crews and staff will begin emergency operations tomorrow morning – working in 12-hour shifts throughout the storm.
Emergency operations will continue to assist emergency responders with traffic control, detours and road closures.
VDOT personnel will suspend emergency response activities in the event of sustained tropical storm winds of 39 mph or higher. Once conditions have improved, crews will work around the clock to clear all roadways of debris.
During a hurricane, VDOT generally does not close bridges, ramps or roads unless there is eminent danger to public safety such as high water, strong sustained winds, pavement/structural damage, or downed trees and other debris that block roads.
VDOT prepares year round for hurricanes through training, conducting drills and performing simulation studies.
Real-time listings of road conditions in Virginia are available on VDOT’s 24-hour traffic and travel information website, www.511Virginia.org or by calling 511.
Bridge and road closures, including all secondary road closures, will be listed on the website.
Hampton Roads area traffic information is also available on Twitter: @511hamptonroads. For general VDOT information, follow @VaDOT.
VDOT’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623) is open 24 hours a day. Agents will be available to answer customer questions and record any reports of downed trees and road hazards.
Traveling on area roadways tomorrow could be hazardous as a result of heavy rain and wind gusts. VDOT recommends drivers delay travel until unsafe weather conditions have passed.
Motorists are encouraged to monitor weather reports and road conditions before traveling and take the following precautions:
- Never drive through water flowing across a road. It takes only six to 12 inches of water to float a small vehicle.
- Never drive around barricades. Remember, the road has been closed for your safety.
- Slow down when driving through standing water. Driving too fast through water could cause you to lose control and hydroplane.
- Avoid flood-prone areas, especially along creeks and other low-lying areas. Water in those areas can rise quickly and without warning during heavy rains.
- In the event of a flash flood warning for your area, seek high ground immediately.
- Watch for debris on the roadway. If you encounter a downed power line, do not try to move the line. Downed trees may contain power lines. Contact VDOT or your local power company.
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.