VDOT keeping close tabs on icy patches for morning commuters

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Ice on the roads will make for a dangerous morning commute, Wednesday. But VDOT will keep a close eye on problem areas like overpasses, bridges and ramps.

When it's raining, VDOT can't put down anti-icing chemicals or they'll just wash away. They rely some on electronic sensors embedded in overpasses and bridges that highlight trouble spots so crews can drop sand for traction.

The morning rush will be the most treacherous as wet pavement will have turned to black ice.

"You might be going a little bit faster, and you don't realize there's an icy patch there, and that's when you can lose control of your vehicle," said VDOT's Dawn Eischen.

At VDOT's traffic operations center, live cameras monitor the interstates. While state troopers on the ground tip off workers to icy spots. But there's another tool in VDOT's arsenal to help keep drivers safe.

VDOT has 9 sensors on bridges and overpasses in metro Richmond gauging air and pavement temperature as well as if there's any ice or water on the road or chemicals to treat the roads during a winter storm.

"Once the pavement sensors get down to about 34 or 35 degrees that's when we contact a crew to treat the area with sand and salt," said Eischen.

You can see trouble areas before you head out the door. Log on to 511virginia.org. There you'll find a color-coded map of metro Richmond. For example, dark blue means moderate road conditions, purple means severe.

"You'll definitely see the interstate road conditions which are the most heavily traveled anyway, so that will give people an idea of what's going on out there," Eischen said.

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