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Crews 'making progress' clearing Virginia roads; hundreds of crashes reported

VDOT: 'We still have a lot of work to do'
Posted at 10:09 AM, Jan 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-01 11:10:34-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews are "making progress" clearing snow from Virginia roads as state police said troopers have worked more than 360 crashes across the Commonwealth as of Sunday night.

Troopers were working 34 crashes as of 9 a.m., according to Virginia State Police. That number had jumped to 362 crashes and more than 320 disabled vehicle calls across the state as of 9 p.m.

  • Richhmond Division: 71 Disabled Vehicles & 117 Traffic Crashes
  • Culpeper Division: 30 Disabled Vehicles & 31 Traffic Crashes
  • Appomattox Division: 41 Disabled Vehicles & 39 Traffic Crashes
  • Wytheville Division: 39 Disabled Vehicles & 19 Traffic Crashes
  • Chesapeake Division: 47 Disabled Vehicles & 60 Traffic Crashes
  • Salem Division: 49 Disabled Vehicles & 52 Traffic Crashes
  • Fairfax Division: 44 Disabled Vehicles & 46 Traffic Crashes

"Fortunately, the majority of them only involve damage to vehicles and no injuries," troopers wrote in a Facebook post.

The agency posted a photo showing a car carrier semi truck that had crashed into the woods along I-95 in Hanover County.

RELATED: Icy conditions will remain a threat

VDOT officials said crews have cleared snow and treated most major routes, so they are shifting to secondary routes and neighborhood streets.

“Crews are making great progress removing snow and applying salt and sand on routes in the district,” Sean Nelson, Richmond District maintenance engineer, said. “However, we still have a lot of work to do. Drivers can help us out by limiting travel as much as possible tonight and Monday until roads are deemed safe. Wet pavement may freeze as temperatures drop tonight, so slick conditions may be present on roads that look otherwise clear.”

VDOT Updates on Major Routes:

  • All interstate routes in the Richmond District, including I-64, I-85, I-95, I-195 and I-295 are passable with minor conditions present. Crews will continue treating these routes with salt and sand to reduce slick spots. Primary focus now is clearing slush from shoulders and gore areas to prevent snow melt from impacting travel lanes.
  • Major routes including Routes 1/301, 58, 60, 76 (Powhite Parkway), 150 (Chippenham Parkway), 250, 288, 360 and 460 (east of Nottoway) are passable with minor conditions present. Crews will continue treating these routes, especially slush-covered turn lanes and intersections, with salt and sand to reduce slick spots.
  • All other primary and secondary routes are in minor to moderate condition, with crews continuing work to plow and treat until conditions are safe and passable. Conditions can change quickly, so drivers should check 511 and local news sources if traveling is essential.

Earlier Sunday, crews began salting to "increase pavement temperature and to prevent snow and ice from bonding to the pavement," VDOT officials said.

"Plowing operations have started on interstate, primary, and high volume secondary routes with 2 inches of accumulation or more," said VDOT officials, who reported "mostly empty roads across Virginia."

"If travel is not essential, please stay home and off the roads," officials urged.

Extra Safety Service Patrol vehicles were dispatched on interstates starting at midnight Sunday to assist with crashes or other incidents, along with emergency stand-by towing in the northwestern portion of the District, officials said.

And because of the threat for ice, officials said contractors are on call to deal with any trees that could be downed in the storm.

Officials said crews started pretreating roads Friday.

VDOT offered tips for driving in snowy and icy conditions:

  • The safest place during a winter storm is indoors.
  • Driving is most dangerous when the temperature is at or under 32 degrees (freezing). A good rule to follow is if the temperature outside is at or below freezing and the road is wet, there will likely be ice, particularly on the shaded areas, bridges, ramps and overpasses, since they tend to freeze first.
  • Even when roads have been treated, drivers should reduce their speed and leave a safe distance of at least five seconds behind other vehicles and trucks that are plowing the road.
  • 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.
  • Give snowplows plenty of room (at least 100 feet) and don't pass them. Also, please make sure to give VDOT
  • If drivers stay off the roads during a storm, transportation workers and public safety officials are better able to plow roadways and respond to emergency needs quicker.
  • If you must drive, give snow plows plenty of room (at least 100 feet) and don't pass them.
  • Avoid parking along the street in your neighborhood. Snow plows are wide, and plow drivers may not be able to access and plow the road if parked cars are blocking the path.