~ Press release issued by the Virginia Department of Transportation on Tuesday, Dec. 15 at 3:30 p.m.
STAUNTON, Dec. 15 — Do not travel on Wednesday, Dec. 16 in the Shenandoah Valley if possible. That is the advice from the Virginia Department of Transportation Staunton District as a major winter storm with heavy snow and ice is predicted for December 16.
On Dec. 15, VDOT crews treated interstate and high volume primary roadways with a brine solution that helps prevent snow and ice from bonding to the asphalt surface.
The VDOT Staunton District serves Frederick, Shenandoah, Clarke, Warren, Page, Rockingham, Augusta, Highland, Rockbridge, Alleghany and Bath counties. This area of the state has roads located in various elevations. Roads in higher elevations may have strong winds and blowing snow, so travelers in these locations should be prepared for unexpected conditions even if a road has been plowed.
Heavy snow is predicted through most of the daylight hours in the northern Shenandoah Valley with snow and icing conditions in the southern portion of the region. Motorists should expect varying driving and visibility conditions throughout the day and into the evening.
Snow plows and snow removal equipment will be staged throughout the Shenandoah Valley. Weather will be monitored throughout the night. Trucks will immediately begin plowing and treating roads as the winter weather arrives.
The VDOT Staunton District has 500 employees and another 1,300 hired equipment personnel for snow removal operations. For this storm the VDOT Staunton District has 199 pieces of snow removal equipment and 670 pieces of hired equipment.
For winter events, VDOT first plows interstates, primary roads and major secondary roads with vital emergency and public facilities, or those with high traffic volumes. Secondary and subdivision streets will be treated in the event of a multi-day storm, but crews will focus efforts on roads that are traveled most.
Road conditions and traffic cameras can be found on the VDOT 511 website at http://www.511Virginia.org, Roads with snow conditions will be marked minor, moderate, severe or closed. Road condition definitions:
- Closed – Road is closed to all traffic.
- Severe – drifting or partially blocked road.
- Moderate – snow or ice on major portions of the roadway.
- Minor – bare pavement except for isolated spots of snow, ice or slush. Driving with caution is recommended.
For a text listing of winter weather road conditions go to http://www.511Virginia.org, look at the orange bar on the top of the page and click on “Text Views” and then click on “Road Condition Table”. Look at the pull down box that lists all jurisdictions. In this box individual counties can be chosen to view.
On the go? Then visit VDOT’s Free Virginia 511 Tools to get your 511 app for android or iOS. Traffic alerts and traveler information can be obtained by dialing 511.
The VDOT Customer Service Center can be accessed through its mobile friendly website at https://my.vdot.virginia.gov/. Agents are on site 24/7 every day of the year to assist the public. People can also call the VDOT Customer Service Center at 800-FOR- ROAD (800-367-7623).
The Staunton District Snow Page is on the VDOT website under Travel Center Snow Emergency Pages. This page is active only during on-going winter weather. The Staunton District Twitter feed is at @VaDOTStaunton.
VDOT statewide Twitter messages can be found at @VaDOT. The nine districts can be found at:Hampton Roads @VaDOTHR; Richmond @VaDOTRVA; Northern Virginia @VaDOTNOVA; Fredericksburg @VaDOTFred; Culpeper @VaDOTCulp; Lynchburg @VaDOTLynchburg; Bristol @VaDOTBristol; Salem @VaDOTSalem; Staunton @VaDOTStaunton.