VDOT Advises Motorists Not To Travel During Storm In North Eastern Virginia

VDOT crews have mobilized in emergency response and are staging to quickly deploy when precipitation arrives later this morning. The winter storm is expected to bring snow, ice, high winds and flooding, so VDOT is asking motorists in the storm area to stay off roads to allow them to work and to guard against danger of becoming stranded.

Earlier this month hundreds of motorists found themselves stranded on I-95 and other roads throughout the commonwealth after being caught out in winter storm weather and trapped by snow, falling limbs or other inoperable vehicles. VSP responded to over 300 crashes and aided over 275 disabled vehicles by Monday Jan 3.

Starting today A winter storm is forecast to affect the entire Fredericksburg District with a range of hazardous travel conditions. The storm is expected to begin as snow, followed by periods of sleet, freezing rain and rain.

Motorists are advised to not travel today during this winter storm that is forecast to create icy, hazardous road conditions across the Fredericksburg area and portions of the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula.

Motorists should remain off the the roads until the storm passes, and road conditions improve.

In coastal areas of the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula, high wind gusts over 40 mph are anticipated with this storm, along with coastal flooding. Flooding in the Fredericksburg area may occur in low-lying areas that experience recurrent flooding.

At 5:24 p.m. Sunday, VSP responded to a two-vehicle crash in Goochland County. A Ford F-350 pickup truck towing a long trailer lost control, jackknifed in the eastbound lanes of I-64 and collided with a Toyota minivan. Both vehicles came to rest in the median at the 169 mile marker. No injuries reported.

The latest information on road conditions across Virginia is available on 511Virginia.
Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews mobilized at midnight, and are staging to quickly begin plowing snow and treating roads when precipitation arrives, which is expected later Sunday morning.

In the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula, major water crossings may be posted at times with high wind advisory notices.


VDOT Crews Staged, Prepared for Storm

On Interstate 95, more than 100 pieces of equipment are dedicated to plowing and treating the interstate’s travel lanes, ramps, shoulders, bridges and overpasses. Trucks will repeatedly circulate over the nearly 50 miles of interstate that passes through Caroline, Spotsylvania and Stafford counties and the City of Fredericksburg.

Additionally, six heavy-duty towing crews will be located along I-95 in the region, with two crews in each county. A team of 16 interstate monitors, deployed in rotating 12-hour shifts, will drive the interstate to quickly identify icing and hazardous road conditions, and report any crashes, disabled vehicles or other incidents that occur during the storm.

More than 20 tree contractors will be in position to assist crews with downed trees and debris removal as needed, with icing and wind expected to close roads and travel lanes.

Across the 14-county district, including the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula, around 800 trucks will be circulating to plow snow and treat roads for icing and slick conditions.

Crews focus first on plowing and treating roads that carry the most traffic, such as the interstate and primary routes, high-volume secondary roads, and roads that connect with critical emergency service facilities.

Earlier this week, I-95 and many primary routes were pre-treated with a salt brine solution, which helps prevent ice from bonding to the pavement during winter weather, and assists crews during snow removal. However, even with treatment, roads may still become slick and hazardous for travel.

VDOT’s Fredericksburg District will have a unified command for this storm to coordinate VDOT’s response with emergency responders along the I-95 corridor in the Fredericksburg area, and this command will include representatives from Virginia State Police and surrounding localities.


High Winds Protocol for Major Bridges

Robert O. Norris Jr. Bridge: Photo from VDOT and AECOM Technical Services Bridge Project Report 2017

VDOT will be monitoring wind speeds on major river crossings in the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula, including:

  • Norris Bridge, which carries Route 3 over the Rappahannock River between Lancaster and Middlesex counties
  • Downing Bridge, which carries Route 360 over the Rappahannock River between Richmond County and the Town of Tappahannock
  • Route 223 bridge over Milford Haven, which connects mainland Mathews County with Gwynn’s
  • Island Eltham Bridge, which carries Route 30/Route 33 traffic over the Pamunkey River and connects the Town of West Point and New Kent County
  • Lord Delaware Bridge, which carries Route 33 over the Mattaponi River and connects the Town of West Point and King and Queen County

If sustained winds reach 30 mph over a period of 30 minutes, or there are frequent wind gusts of 45 mph or greater, VDOT will post a high wind advisory notice on these bridges.

High-profile vehicles such as tractor-trailers, box trucks, and large vans and SUVs are advised to not cross the bridge when an advisory is posted. Trucks carrying small or empty loads may be especially at risk.

When sustained winds reach 45 mph or above over a period of 15 minutes, VDOT crews will post a bridge closure notice. However, bridges will not be physically barricaded.

Notices will be posted on message boards staged at the bridges, and communicated through VDOT news releases, VDOT social media platforms, and on 511Virginia.

The Route 223 bridge to Gwynn’s Island in Mathews will be closed to marine traffic openings between 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 16, and 6 a.m. Monday, Jan. 17.

Ferry Service
In the Northern Neck, ferry service does not operate on Sundays. Service scheduled for the Sunnybank Ferry in Northumberland County on Monday, Jan. 17, will be evaluated based on weather conditions at that time.


Call 511, visit www.511Virginia.org, or use VDOT’s 511Virginia free mobile app to find real-time road conditions in any area of the state.
VDOT’s Customer Service Center
VDOT’s Customer Service Center is open 24 hours a day to answer questions and take reports of roadway hazards at 1-800-FOR-ROAD (367-7623) and online at my.vdot.virginia.gov.
VDOT Online Snow Plow Tracker
VDOT’s online snow plow tracking map will be activated once 2 inches of snow or more has accumulated.
VDOT and contractor trucks are equipped with automatic vehicle location technology, and can be monitored on the tracker during snow removal operations.

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