Icy commute causes gridlock on Powhite Parkway

By Jola Szubielski - bio | email

Posted by Colby Rogers

It was a rough commute for many drivers Thursday morning battling patches of black ice on the major roadways of Central Virginia.

State police say they responded to more accidents than usual, while the Virginia Dept. of Transportation worked to salt and sand trouble spots.

Traffic along the typically congested Powhite Parkway came to a complete standstill because of the icy conditions.

Patches of black ice caused multiple accidents in the northbound EZ Pass lanes.

VDOT says they had crews working and on standby overnight Wednesday.  They treated the area twice -  just after midnight and again early Thursday morning -  but say the preparations weren't enough to keep the ice away by rush hour.

VDOT is cautioning motorists to pay extra attention and to use extra caution in the future.

"It's important for people to slow down," said VDOT spokesperson Taya Jarman. "Even if you don't see it, or it doesn't look wet, you should assume its black ice and take your foot off the brake."

Jarman says that drivers should allow 5 to 7 seconds of following distance between cars.

"You want to make sure that if someone has an accident that you have enough time to properly correct and make maneuvers to go around someone," Jarman said.

VDOT is urging drivers to call 511 to get current traffic and road conditions, allowing them to avoid those potentially dangerous areas all together.

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