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Safety is always a top priority for Vdot - December 8


VDOT Prepared as Virginia Recognizes Winter Weather Preparedness Week

RICHMOND — Safety is always a top priority for the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) even during the worst of winter weather. Winter Weather Preparedness Week is Dec. 3 through 9, and VDOT is reassuring state residents that the agency is ready to tackle whatever Mother Nature decides to send us for the 2007-2008 winter season. This year VDOT is armed with an $80.6 million budget and more than 3,200 crewmembers and 3,680 pieces of snow-removal equipment – ready to go on a moment’s notice.

“VDOT starts preparing for winter weather long before Virginians begin to feel a chill in the air,” said David Ekern, VDOT commissioner. “Each spring and summer, we practice techniques, ensure equipment in excellent performing condition and top off supplies so that we can make Virginia ’s roadways the safest possible even during the worst of weather.”

With 231,000 tons of salt and 70,100 tons of sand on hand this year, VDOT is prepared to clear snow and ice from more than 57,800 miles of state-maintained interstates, primary and secondary roads and many county subdivision streets across Virginia. Cities, towns and Henrico and Arlington counties clear their own roads.

During snow events, VDOT aims to have all roads passable within 48 hours after the storm ends. Crews begin by clearing interstates and major primary roads, followed by secondary roads and subdivision streets. Crews often begin pre-treating roads with salt, sand and other ice-fighting chemicals before the storm hits to prevent icing on bridges and hills. If necessary, VDOT can also call in contract equipment and labor to ensure the job gets done in a timely manner.

“Pre-treating and clearing roads are only a few links in the chain to ensuring motorist safety during inclement weather,” continued Ekern. “Motorists also have an important role to play in safely traveling and supporting VDOT snow-removal efforts. In particular, we strongly urge motorists to call 511 to understand road conditions before leaving home, and to wear a seat belt and drive slowly and responsibly while operating their vehicle.”

Residents are also encouraged to help keep roads clear by shoveling snow to the right of a driveway when facing the street rather than into the street. This way the plow will not push the snow back across the end of your driveway or possibly creating a hazardous spot.

For the latest on road condition and traffic during winter storms, motorists should call 511 or visit VDOT has also provided more detailed information, including its snow-removal process and safety tips for motorists at

For more information about Virginia ’s efforts to prepare for winter weather and other emergencies, visit The National Weather Service, Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Virginia Department of Social Services and other state agencies have created the Ready Virginia resource to provide citizens with a one-stop shop for emergency preparedness tips and information.

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