Last month, VDOT hosted a seminar on snow removal in Virginia. Here are some highlights:
VDOT (NOVA) is responsible for 17,737 lane miles in Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties. About half of those miles are highways or high-volume routes, and half are neighborhood streets. During winter weather, crews work will work on both concurrently. Last winter’s budget for northern Virginia was $52 million and $128.5 million was spent. This year’s budget is $70.7 million.
In 2016, snow removal crews will pre-treat 850 lane miles:
- 350 lane miles on interstates: These areas will be pre-treated with liquid magnesium chloride. This includes bridges and ramps that are prone to freezing. (e.g. Springfield interchange and Capital Beltway at Route 1)
- 500 lane miles on major roads: Roads such as Fairfax County Parkway, routes 1, 7, 28, 29, and 50 will be pre-treated with salt brine. Salt brine prevents ice from bonding to the road surface, reduces the need for salt to melt ice, and can lower snow removal time and costs.
Once again, you can track your snowplow online! When snowfall accumulates 2+ inches, you can get on vdotplows.org to monitor the status of plowing. All you need to do is enter your address and a color-coded snow map pops up and shows whether plowing is underway, completed or not yet started in your neighborhood. The site is refreshed every 5 minutes so the information you view will be very accurate.
This year there are more than 3,500 trucks and plows available. All are equipped with automatic vehicle locator (AVL) equipment (so you can track your snow plow). Some trucks are also outfitted with specialized equipment to address specific issues:
- Speed-activated anti-icing equipment: ensures that the right amount of materials is dispersed on the road
- Jet-powered snow melter: clears the snow that blocks spaces in park-n-ride lots.
- High-pressure flush trucks: (7 trucks) clears the snow and ice that builds up around the bollards that separate I-495 Express Lanes and regular lanes.
- Front loaders with 20-foot blades: (2 trucks) will be used to plow interstate highways during severe snow storms.
In addition to updating snow removal equipment, VDOT has also expanded its monitor program. 150 VDOT employees will be assigned on-road duty to monitor road conditions and snowplow progress. Each employee is assigned an ipad and iphone to ensure uniformity and prompt communication.
Resources for residents and drivers:
- See the status of snow plowing in your neighborhoods: vdotplows.org
- Follow VDOT Northern Virginia on Twitter: @vadotnova
- Report safety concerns: 1-800-367-7623
- Overview of Northern Virginia snow removal