When snow ends, work continues for VDOT

Dec 16, 2010

As roadways begin to clear after Thursday’s snow and ice, the Virginia Department of Transportation will continue monitoring conditions.

“The clean-up doesn’t end when the storm’s over,” said VDOT Spokeswoman Paula Jones.

Precipitation may fall through early Friday morning, and snow or ice left on roads during the night will probably freeze, said Tim Wiles, assistant district administrator for maintenance for VDOT’s Lynchburg District, which includes Pittsylvania County.

VDOT has about 80 vehicles available — including plows and loaders — in Pittsylvania County to treat and clear snowy, icy roads, Jones said. VDOT’s first priority is to keep primary roads such as U.S. 29, U.S. 58, Va. 360 and Va. 41 clear, Jones said. Secondary roads, or neighborhood roads, were still dicey Thursday afternoon.

“They’re still pretty slick,” Wiles said. “We’ve been concentrating on primary roads.”

VDOT applies brine to roads before snow falls and once enough snow has accumulated, salt is applied and the snow is plowed. VDOT then adds a salt/sand mixture to the road to provide traction, Wiles said.

Pittsylvania County had about 2.5 inches of snow Thursday, Jones said.

There were few weather-related accidents in the county Thursday, said Virginia State Police 1st Sgt. David Cooper, who works in the Chatham office covering Pittsylvania County. The county had about 35 incidents, most involving vehicles sliding off the road and a few minor accidents, Cooper said.

Most of the incidents happened in the Blairs area and in northern Pittsylvania County, occurring along U.S. 29 and on neighborhood roads, Cooper said.

The Virginia State Police beefed up its manpower in Pittsylvania County for the wintry weather, with 11 of its 14 officers working Thursday, instead of the normal seven, Cooper said.

“We just urge people to slow down,” Cooper advised drivers. “That’s the biggest thing.”

Pittsylvania County closed its non-essential operations — such as administration, social services and other offices unrelated to public safety — for weather-related reasons Thursday, said Jim Davis, emergency services director for the county.

The county had five dispatchers on duty Thursday to handle 911 calls due to weather, Davis said. The 911 center typically has four workers at the most, Davis said.



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