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VDOT & Snow Removal
Posted on Nov 19th, 2014
VDOT briefed local elected officials yesterday on their plans for dealing with snow and ice on the roads this winter. VDOT will once again have an interactive website where residents can track snowplows and monitor road conditions in real time. More information below:
Highlights for winter 2014-15:
Neighborhood plowing page: Residents are encouraged to continue using vdotplows.org to monitor the status of plowing in northern Virginia neighborhoods. Once it snows more than two inches, residents in Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties can enter their address and a color-coded snow map shows whether plowing is underway, completed or not yet started in their neighborhood.
Equipment: More than 4,000 trucks and plows are available and all are equipped with automatic vehicle locator (AVL) equipment. Special equipment includes:
• A jet-powered snow melter for park-n-ride lots where massive snow piles block spaces.
• Seven high-pressure flush trucks clear snow and ice around the bollards separating the I-495 Express Lanes and regular lanes.
• A truck-mounted weather station provides mobile measurements on road conditions (dry, moist, wet, snow, ice), as well as surface, dew point and air temperature, humidity and thickness of ice. This helps ensure that crews do not over- or under-apply chemicals.
• Two super-sized front loaders plow interstates with 20-foot wide blades during severe storms.
• Speed-activated anti-icing equipment puts the right amount of material on the road. A super-sized salt dome at the Beltway and Van Dorn Street holding 22,000 tons – about three times the capacity of a typical dome – helps ensure that crews do not run low during severe storms. Pre-treating: Crews will pre-treat 850 lane miles of trouble spots including:
• 350 lane miles on interstates 66, 95, 395, and 495—including bridges and ramps prone to freezing such as the Springfield interchange and Capital Beltway at Route 1—with liquid magnesium chloride.
• 500 lane miles on major roads, such as Fairfax County Parkway, routes 1, 7, 28, 29, and 50, are pre-treated with salt brine. Brine (77 percent water, 23 percent salt) prevents ice from bonding to the road surface, reduces the need for salt to melt ice, is kinder to the environment and can lower snow removal time and costs.
New brine application pilot in Chantilly: This winter, crews will test an additional brine method on several roads in the Chantilly area. Crews will pre-treat the pavement with brine, plow when snow has fallen and then re-treat with brine. VDOT will test the effectiveness of this method, which has seen success in some Western states and could further reduce the need for salt.