CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Crews are "on the move" Sunday to make sure roads stay safe ahead of a winter storm that will impact much of the Commonwealth Monday, according to Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) officials.
"Crews are working now to prepare and load equipment before reporting early Monday morning," officials said in an email Sunday afternoon. "Once precipitation begins, crews will work in 24-hour operations until all roads are safe and passable."
VDOT #Richmond District crews are on the move to ensure roads remain safe ahead of an expected winter storm, which could impact the district starting early Monday. Crews are working now to prepare and load equipment before reporting early Monday AM. More: https://t.co/GDh1AcpoKL pic.twitter.com/rT4wXHKTt0— VDOT Richmond (@VaDOTRVA) January 2, 2022
Crews will plow where accumulations reach 2 inches or more and keep an eye for a potential refreeze overnight, according to officials.
"Icy patches will be treated with salt to help melt ice and sand to enhance traction for drivers," officials said.
Officials said extra Safety Service Patrol vehicles will be on the interstates during peak travel times to help with traffic incidents. Accordingly, additional Transportation Operations Center staff members will be working to coordinate incidents with patrol operators and law enforcement, officials said.
"VDOT has a plan in place and we’re asking Richmond District residents to also plan ahead," VDOT Acting Richmond District Maintenance Engineer Gary Jennings said. "Ask yourself if you really need to drive – and if you do, remember to make safety your top priority. It’s also a good idea to refresh your memory on safe driving tips."
VDOT offered these tips for drivers:
- The safest place during a winter storm is indoors.
- Delay Monday travel if possible. Slushy roads can still be dangerous for drivers.
- 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.
- Give all vehicles extra following distance during snow.
- Melted snow presents another dangerous challenge: Ice. Refreeze is possible Monday night. Drivers should assume ice is present on the road if temperatures are below freezing and precipitation is present on the roadway.
- Be extra careful in areas which tend to freeze first, including bridges, shaded areas, overpasses, curves and turns.
State police also said they were prepping for the storm and would have "all available troopers" on patrol for crashes, emergencies and disabled motorists, officials said.
Troopers also urged Virginians to plan ahead before the storm moves in.
"If you can delay your travel overnight and early Monday, please do until VDOT has an opportunity to treat/clear roadways for safe travel," officials said.
COMPLETE COVERAGE: Tracking winter storm; when rain will mix with some sleet and snow