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A Message From VDOT
Posted on Jan 26th, 2016

·         We are working to plow 13,000 road miles, including 16,000 subdivision streets. We have made considerable progress, but the phase of response that we are now in requires a lot of time.
·         We are using equipment from VDOT, as well as private contractors. We continue to reach out to anyone who may have heavy equipment, including quarries and contractors. VDOT resources have been deployed to us from the following districts: Lynchburg, Salem, Bristol, Richmond, and Hampton Roads. Equipment has been brought in from as far as Connecticut. We invite those with loaders or motor graders to contact our procurement section at 703-259-3240.
·         4,000 pieces of equipment are in service. We are at the highest mobilization level and currently looking to maintain that for the next 48 hours. Equipment will continue to be redeployed to other areas of the district as they complete their current task.
·         However, if any piece of equipment is needed for emergency services, it will be redeployed immediately, even if it is mid-task elsewhere. Drivers may also leave to refuel, address a mechanical issue, to eat, or for rest. Driver fatigue is a very real and dangerous condition, and some of our drivers have been working daily since Wednesday.
•          Subdivisions are divided into sections that we call snow maps. Each snow map is about 8-10 miles, depending upon terrain, schools, or additional challenges. The Northern Virginia District contains more than 600 snow maps. When a plow driver is assigned a snow map, all of the streets on the map are listed “in progress.” When the driver returns to the area headquarters after the entire map is complete, then and only then is the map (and all of the streets contained within) listed as complete.
•          Within subdivisions, the first priority addressed is the major arteries. From there, we will address cul-de-sacs. You may see us treat a major artery several times before we address a cul-de-sac. The arteries must remain passable for the rest of our operations to be successful.
•          Smaller plow trucks are effective in conditions up to around 10”. Some parts of our district received upwards of 40”. We are using smaller trucks where they remain effective.
•          We have four times the amount of equipment as we did a few years ago, but the type of equipment that we need for this phase of the response is much larger scale.
•          To be the most efficient, we are not hauling snow, but simply moving it out of the roadway. Work in subdivisions now requires heavy equipment that must be put on trailers and driven to subdivisions. Work that would take a plow one hour to do takes between 8-10 hours for a heavy equipment to complete.
Current Status
•          If you are experiencing an emergency, please call 9-1-1. We work with public safety and redeploy as needed to support emergency response.
•          We have seen an increase in the amount of traffic. Even if your subdivision is passable, please stay off of the roads. It slows down the movement of heavy equipment and the redeployment of smaller vehicles. As well, vehicles parked on the road can hinder the arrival of large equipment. Please use extreme caution around heavy equipment.
•          We are prioritizing streets that have not yet been plowed.
•          We are making real progress on the interstates. They are passable, but not all lanes are open. As is the case with major arterials, they have required additional treatment to address melting and refreezing issues. For your own safety, use extreme caution when entering and exiting the interstates.
•          The primary roads are progressing, but expect merging difficulties and limited visibility as turn lanes and ramps remain hazardous.
•          The demand on our customer service center has caused server problems. They are being addressed, but we implore residents to not call the customer service center. We are aware of which streets have been completed and which are still outstanding. We have not forgotten about anyone.