Snow Patrol

Posted at 10:51 AM, Jan 17, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-17 10:51:12-05

Richmond, Va.  (WTVR)  –  The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is trying to wrap up construction projects affecting northbound and southbound lanes on I-95 between Lakeside and Boulevard before the snow starts falling later this afternoon (as expected).  They’ll have one lane each way closed until 3:00 p.m.

While VDOT is watching the roads, Ed Southern, the manager of the Kroger in Carytown is watching the growing number of shoppers.  Ed’s from Richmond, and he knows what people do when they hear snow is on the way.

“It’s the milk, the bread, the bottle of wine”, says Ed, chuckling.  “They’re getting ready for the excitement of the event.” 

That’s why Ed is making sure the bread is getting stocked on the shelves.  Most Richmonders like him know it may not last long when it’s snowing, but what about when the snow is on the road?  Do they know who’s responsible for cleaning the snow up on Richmond’s streets?  Is it the city or VDOT?

If you guessed VDOT, you’d be wrong, just like Shalimar Fields who was gathering up some groceries at the same Kroger.

“I would say VDOT, but if you told me it was the city, I’d have to do some research to see if I believe you.”

Actually it is the city that’s responsible.  Cities in Virginia clear their streets as does Arlington and Henrico County.

VDOT cleans snow and ice off of state maintained roads, but spokesperson Sundra Hominik says you might not see very many of their trucks on the streets until the snow actually starts falling.

“If it gets to two inches of accumulation, we’ll bring out the plows. We’ll get those down on the road and start pushing the snow.”

If you’re curious about which roads they clear first, it’s the ones that carry the most traffic, and then they branch out from there.

Speaking of branches, VDOT warns that on the secondary roads, there could be hidden dangers under the snow until it’s cleared.  Dangers like fallen trees, branches or deep potholes.

Some of you might remember VDOT announced significant budget cuts last year, but they say it won’t affect snow and ice removal because the money came from other programs and construction projects.

VDOT crews are gearing up for 12 hour shifts.  They’ve been stockpiling salt, sand and chemicals at strategic locations and practicing their snow routes, and believe their ready to handle this weather event.

Their goal is to have as many roads cleared as possible no longer than 48 hours after the snow stops falling.