VDOT readies for winter storm

Posted at 9:24 PM, Mar 02, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-02 21:24:47-05

From a news release from the Virginia Department of Transportation.

COLONIAL HEIGHTS – The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews have been preparing for another winter storm that is forecast to bring sleet and several inches of snow.

Crews began loading trucks with plows, spreaders, salt and sand earlier today. The storm is expected to begin as rain overnight and change over to sleet early tomorrow morning and ending in a changeover to snow by mid morning.

Since the storm will begin as a rain event, VDOT will not be able to pretreat roads, as any moisture will wash away pretreatment materials.

Once icy precipitation begins, crews will apply sand and salt to the pavement; sand to provide extra traction for drivers and salt to melt the snow and ice.

Approximately 3,000 pieces of equipment will be on snow duty around the district, working to make the roads passable within 48 hours of the storm’s end.

Crews will first focus their snow removal efforts on interstates and primary roadways (routes numbered 1-599), then will shift resources to the secondary road system as conditions allow. Even when roads have been treated with sand and salt, drivers must reduce their speed.

VDOT advises drivers to watch local forecasts and road conditions closely tomorrow morning before travel. Road conditions could change quickly, so drivers should be prepared to delay travel if possible.

If travel is essential, VDOT offers the following tips for driving in winter weather:

  • Postpone unnecessary travel until conditions improve. If you must drive, know the current road conditions and weather forecasts.
  • Slow down and allow extra time to reach your destination.
  • Be aware of potentially icy areas such as bridges, overpasses and shady spots. Also, if there is heavy snow, ice or high winds, be alert to potential driving hazards including downed branches, trees and power lines.
  • Keep a safe distance of at least five seconds behind other vehicles and snowplows.
  • Do not pass a snowplow unless it is absolutely necessary. Remember, the plow is clearing a path for you.
  • If you begin to skid, do not brake. Take your foot off the gas and steer the vehicle in the direction you want to go.