RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — If you have to be out on the roads this winter, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) says they’re doing everything to make sure drivers will be safe. Preparations are already underway for ice and snow.
8News Meteorologist Katie Dupree spoke to Lindsay Legrand of VDOT back in October — who said her staff is constantly replenishing supplies to be ready well ahead of winter weather.
“We watch the weather very closely. We’re constantly monitoring the conditions as well as what the forecasted pavement temperatures might be,” Legrand said. “All of that goes into what our operations might look like.”
As you know, we can get a mixed bag of winter weather in Central Virginia. Depending on the forecast, if the winter storm is expected to start as snow, VDOT can pretreat the roads with salt, sand, or brine to help while the snow is falling and after.
“We watch the weather very closely. We’re constantly monitoring the conditions as well as what the forecasted pavement temperatures might be,” Lindsay Legrand, a VDOT representative said. “All of that goes into what our operations might look like.”
But if it starts as rain, freezing rain, or sleet, that would wash away any pretreating — leaving VDOT to just clean up the mess after the fact.
“We’ve got about a thousand pieces of equipment in the Richmond region ready to be deployed if we have a snow this season. These are spreaders and those are put into the back of the dump trucks and that’s how we apply the salt and sand to the roadway,” Legrand said. “And we also have these orange plows here which are affixed to the fronts of the trucks. That’s when we have snow that’s at least an inch to two inches and we’ll start to push the snow off the roadway as well.”
Once a snow storm is underway, VDOT likes to focus on interstates first; then primary roads, secondary roads that connect schools and emergency service providers, and hospitals, according to Legrand.
“We want to make sure that you’re going to be safe as often as possible whenever there’s a snowstorm — so that’s really our focus,” Legrand said, “and then once we complete the snow removal of those routes, then we’ll focus on secondary routes in those neighborhood side streets.”
Legrand says they try to put pretreatment down as often as they can, so it gives them a head start for the storm when they’re removing snow.
“If we do go over budget of our allocated amount, we do have other maintenance funds available, so we are going to keep removing snow from the roadways,” she said. “It’s not going to stop our operations.”