HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – As temperatures drop overnight, crews continue to clear snow and ice from roadways across Hampton Roads, hoping to minimize re-freezing effects. 10 On Your Side is here with team coverage to help you navigate any hazards.
Public Works trucks are still working around the clock to apply the salt-sand mixture on top of snow and slick spots on the roads to give traction. VDOT is also keeping an eye on road conditions with dozens of plow and salt trucks out before during and after the snowfall.
Spokeswoman Marshall Herman talked to WAVY.com about where VDOT crews are in terms of clearing the roads and what to expect on the roads overnight.
“Right now, interstates are almost done, but there are still some wet areas we are salting because we expect low temps this evening to refreeze any wet spots, so we are salting those areas ahead of time,” Herman said. “Our primary roads are fairly clear. There are still some icy patches on a lot of road sections that occur because tonight we do expect wind gusts to push snow back onto the roads.”
WAVY.com asked Herman about equipment available to clear roads in Hampton Roads as opposed to equipment available in areas farther North that experience snow more often.
“Well [here], we had over 300 pieces of equipment that were ready for this weather event,” she said. “Now, that may seem like a lot, but they are staging different areas, and they are different pieces of equipment.”
By 4 a.m. Wednesday, nearly four inches of snow covered Virginia Beach, and according to VDOT, hazardous driving conditions remained throughout the Hampton Roads Area for the morning’s commute, with most roads in moderate condition.
“The roads pretty much everywhere in the city are just solid packed ice right now,” said Director of Virginia Beach Public Works Phillip Davenport Wednesday morning. “A little bit of snow on top, but mostly ice. If you don’t have to be out, just don’t be on the road.”
In many places, a plow wasn’t able to clear roads because the accumulation was too thin. Instead, Virginia Beach Department of Public Works brought in 32 crews working 12-hour shifts to apply salt and sand to primary roads.
In Virginia Beach, there are about 900 primary roads, and 340 secondary roads. Public Works official Drew Lankford said crews were able to hit all primary roads, and most secondary roads, but the city still wants people to be careful.
“We don’t want people to let their guard down because the storm has passed and we’ve had a sunny day,” said Lankford. We’re still going to have problems, and we’re really not letting up. We still have a lot to do in the next 24 hours.”
In Portsmouth, road crews have also been working around the clock since Tuesday, including eight trucks and 32 workers. The Public Works Department said by Wednesday afternoon, primary road conditions were improving, but secondary roads were still icy.
The trouble for snow plows to clean roads was also true up and down the Peninsula, where people shoveling snow raced dropping temperatures and the inevitable re-freeze.
In Williamsburg, WAVY.com caught up with a contractor cleaning up a shopping center parking lot off Richmond Road.
“It’s winter time, and usually the lawn services, we don’t have work in the winter,” said Joanne Brassus, who owns the company with her husband. “We sit up until about March, so we are fortunate to have some money coming in.”
Williamsburg Public Works has five main crews that rotate shifts around the clock to clear the roads. Officials say the big concern overnight is black ice developing on cleared roads.
The city of Newport News announced a two-hour delay for workers Wednesday, except public works crews, who salted and sanded the roads through the night. The city’s nine spreaders and 17 plows hit the main and secondary roads, but the city does not have the capacity to treat every neighborhood.
Hampton City Public Works crews have been treating roads for 24 hours and will continue through the night, into Thursday. So far, more than 400 tons of salt and more than 100,000 gallons of brine solution has been used to coat roads.
As the temperatures drop again Wednesday night, VDOT advises drivers to pay special attention to bridges, overpasses and shaded roads where slick spots are likely.
VDOT is offering the following winter driving tips:
- Make sure your vehicle is winter ready – be sure to completely clear all windows, lights, and side mirrors before driving.
- Keep an emergency driving kit in your car.
- Wear your seatbelt and don’t drive distracted.
- Keep a safe distance of at least five seconds behind other vehicles.
- Keep headlights on to increase visibility.
- Allow extra time for travel.
- Be aware of potentially icy areas such as shady spots and bridges.
- When driving on ice, don’t slam on your brakes. Travel gently. Turn slowly. Sudden changes can cause your car to spin out of control.
- Drive smart and pay attention.
For drivers who have to be out on the roads, VDOT advises checking road conditions on their 511 website (511virginia.org) or mobile app (VDOT 511). You can also call 511 or listen to 1680 AM for up-to-the-minute traffic info.
Hampton Roads Transit said buses were running but side streets are slick, so delays should be expected. Trains were on time.