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VDOT offers advice to residents in light of winter storm

By CALVIN PYNN

calvin@southwesttimes.com

 

A Winter Storm warning is in effect throughout the region covering the New River Valley, including Pulaski County.

According to the National Weather Service in Blacksburg, the area can expect a possible 6-12 inches of snow accumulation starting tomorrow around midday or mid-afternoon. The snow could continue overnight until about midday Thursday.

According to Jason Bond, spokesman for the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), this will probably be the first significant snow event for this season.

“Most of the events we’ve had thus far have been clipper systems,” said Bond. “We’re looking at a more widespread event.”

Bond said that to prepare for the storm VDOT will start spraying the major roads with brine ahead of the anticipated weather. They do this so the layer of salt water will help prevent the ice from bonding to the road surface.

According to Bond, this helps ice and snow come off the road more easily when plowed. He also added that this can usually be done up to 48 hours before the storm hits.

He also added that if this storm is a prolonged event, VDOT will prioritize the major roads for plowing. The primary roads, numbered one through 99, will be treated before the neighborhood streets.

“As long as snow is still falling, we won’t send plows down secondary roads, so folks need to plan accordingly,” said Bond. “If you’re going to be driving to work, just be aware that it’s going to be awhile before we send plows down the neighborhood streets.”

Bond also advised residents to follow VDOT’s 511 system, which provides real time road information, which can be accessed by dialing 511, or can be found online at www.511virginia.org. According to Bond, the 511 system provides the most up to date information VDOT has about road conditions, including a colored map and secondary road conditions by county.

Lastly, in case of an emergency, such as the need for medical assistance or an ambulance, residents are advised to continue to dial 911 rather than contacting VDOT directly to send a plow out. According to Bond, all emergency services work in coordination with VDOT to respond as necessary in case of an emergency.

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