VDOT prepares for winter weather

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – VDOT is gearing up for whatever Mother Nature brings our way. Crews have put down thousands of gallons of anti-icing chemicals on Interstates 95 and 64 and major roads including Midlothian Turnpike and Hull Street Road.

It's all part of a pre-emptive strike to stay ahead of the storm.

"It (anti-icing agent) prevents snow or ice from forming a bond to the pavement. It makes it easier for VDOT and contractors to push the snow or ice away from the road," said VDOT spokesperson, Dawn Eischen.

When precipitation starts to fall crews will begin to salt and sand major roads and interstates.

"We want to hit those first because that's where the majority of people will be driving. The sand and salt need something to stick to which would be either sleet, snow, slush, whatever might fall," said Eischen.

The number of plows and spreaders being worked on, at VDOT's repair shop in Colonial Heights, has doubled within the last 24 hours. If the equipment on the vehicles doesn't work -- it can't help keep the roads safe and clear.

VDOT mechanics, like Billy Boswell, are working double duty to prepare the vehicles. Right now, he's fixing a hydraulic pump that raises and lowers the plow.

"Usually what we see before the storm hits -- we see a lot of salt damage and water damage from the trucks sitting. If we can keep the stuff running they can keep the roads clear twice as fast," said Boswell.

Commuters heading out early Tuesday morning are encouraged to give themselves more time to get to their destination.

"What people need to know is that anytime the road is wet and the temperature is at or below freezing assume there's ice on the roadway," said Eischen.

We did reach out to several school districts on Monday to see if classes would be in session tomorrow. As of late Monday afternoon no decision had been made to close school in the Richmond metro area.

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