Audit finds lessons learned from other snowstorms not applied during I-95 incident in Jan.
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - An audit by the Office of the State Inspector General found that Virginia did not implement lessons learned from previous snowstorms during the Interstate 95 storm on Jan. 3-4.
When temperatures dropped after the sun went down, the snow and slush stopped traffic.
“This storm came at a time when many new snow removal contractors and employees were coming on board with the Virginia Department of Transportation and had not undergone the typical training provided prior to COVID-19,” said State Inspector General Michael C. Westfall. “When the storm intensified and traffic slowed due to disabled vehicles, including jackknifed tractor trailers, the resulting traffic backed up significantly and impacted VDOT’s ability to clear the roadway as plows could not remove the accumulating snow.”
The audit found the state did not apply lessons learned from a similar snow incident in 2018 on Interstate 81 near Bristol.
“This incident resulted in a VDOT After Action Report that included recommendations applicable to the 2022 I-95 Snow Incident. In addition, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management has general (all-hazard) emergency plans for natural disasters, but no hazard-specific snow event response planning for the Commonwealth had been performed,” a release said.
The report also said that communication with the public was not effective.
Either the public received messages to avoid the area and ignored them or they did not receive the messages,” said Westfall.
Recommendations include applying lessons learned from snow-related responses, more training and better communication from agencies to the public.
Read the full audit, HERE.
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