Southside secondary roads still sheets of ice

Ice begins to pile up on roads in Elizabeth City, N.C., Jan. 30, 2014. (WAVY/Anne McNamara)
Ice begins to pile up on roads in Elizabeth City, N.C., Jan. 30, 2014. (WAVY/Anne McNamara)

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Road conditions continue to keep Southside cities from functioning normally after the area was one of the hardest hit by the most significant snowstorm in recent years.

Thursday evening, the city of Chesapeake lifted its state of emergency declaration. The city, along with Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia Beach, made the declarations earlier this week, allowing the cities to track storm expenditures for possible reimbursement if a federal declaration is made.

The Super Doppler 10 weather team says around 7 to 10 inches of snow accumulated in parts of the Southside Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. The snow, ice and wind continue to make travel difficult and potentially dangerous.

Most school systems have announced closings for Friday – click here for the latest list.

Chesapeake:

Crews are currently clearing the turn lanes on Emergency and primary routes – Battlefield, Greenbrier, Military, Portsmouth Blvd and Western Branch Blvd — which are generally in good condition.

The Chesapeake Expressway and all ramps are clear. Secondary routes in southern Chesapeake (Whitemore, Land of Promise) are about 80 percent clear, according to city spokesman Heath Covey. He said road crews are still treating secondary roads and have extended treatment to a few neighborhood and connector streets.

The city continues to ask residents to limit travel as much as possible for safety reasons and to allow public works crews to treat the roads. As crews complete the removal of snow from streets, it may be necessary to temporarily halt traffic in certain areas for brief periods. This is to allow plows to move the snow across traffic lanes, clear turn lanes, and open median breaks. The stoppage will be brief and drivers are asked to please stop when directed and not try to race ahead of plows. These actions are both unsafe and disruptive to the operation by creating delays in the process.

WAVY’s Erin Kelly reported up to 39 trucks were being used this week for snow removal, 19 of which were supplied by the Virginia Department of Transportation. Now that the city has lifted its state of emergency, the VDOT trucks and equipment will be released from helping the city’s Public Works crews.

More information about Chesapeake’s snow removal plan is available at www.cityofchesapeake.net/snow. Information about response efforts and city closings is available at the city’s website, on WFOS (88.7 FM radio), WCTV Chesapeake Television, and the city’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

Norfolk:

Lori Crouch with the City of Norfolk primary routes — like Ocean View, Chesapeake, Berkley, Indian River, Princess Anne, Brambelton and Kempsville — continue to be the focus of crews working to clear city roadways. In the Downtown area, crews are giving main roads and some connecting roads priority, and most of the snow is being hauled to Harbor Park.

Road crews are also continuing to clear access around police and fire stations and hospitals.

Janeen White, a city spokeswoman, told WAVY’s Erin Kelly on Thursday that emergency routes were still the priority.

“If it was an area that was around the hospital, then it would be a lot clearer than any of the other areas we addressed at first,” she said. “One of the things that we like people to do is just to be patient with us and have realistic expectations. [This week] we saw something that we don’t see all the time in this area. We got anywhere from 8 to 10 inches.”

To find out what roads are primary and what roads are secondary in Norfolk, click here.

Norfolk resident Vashon Noel told WAVY’s Andy Fox on Tuesday her greatest concern is being stuck indoors for days because of the snowfall. But Norfolk Public Works crews say they are doing their best to keep that from happening. Road crews are are working around the clock — 65 Public Works employees worked overnight Tuesday with 21 trucks.

Crouch said the city has used hundreds of tons of sand and salt to treat the roadways. VDOT has also provided some resources to clear roads, including 18 trucks that have focused on Military Highway, Hampton Boulevard, Granby, Tidewater, Little Creek Boulevard, and Virginia Beach Boulevard.

Portsmouth:

As of 6 a.m. Friday, about 98 percent of primary roads in the city are clear and all are passable, according to Dana Woodson with the city of Portsmouth. Public Works staff transitioned to a major effort to clear secondary roads overnight Wednesday, and Woodson said about 80 percent were cleared throughout the day Thursday. That work will continue around the clock.

The entrances to Portsmouth Naval Medical Center are clear, Woodson said. Crews also continue to monitor the bridges and primary roads and are ready to re-treat any areas, if necessary. All primary roads continue to be passable.

The city did not receive any resources from VDOT for clearing roadways.

Elizabeth River Tunnels crews continue to clear snow and ice from the roadway at the mouths of the Downtown and Midtown tunnels. ERT told WAVY’s Ava Hurdle they will keep monitoring bridges, ramps, and overpasses at both tunnels overnight for re-icing.

The city continues to urge residents to refrain from driving until roadways are cleared and less hazardous.

Suffolk:

Diana Klink with the city of Suffolk said Public Works have been successful in transitioning from working on primary and secondary roads and have plowed 43 neighborhoods, as of Thursday evening. Access to some areas was obstructed due to cars parked on the sides of the roadways, dead ends or the inability for plows to turn around.

Citizens are requested to remove their parked vehicles from the roadways in residential neighborhoods where possible so that snow plows are not impeded in accessing these areas.

By 2 p.m. Friday, Public Works anticipates all neighborhoods will be completed as their staff continues to work in 12-hour shifts around the clock. They will monitor bridges and overpasses overnight due to issues with re-freezing and tonight’s low temperature of 24 degrees.

The city is also working on clearing turn lanes, as a lot of plowed snow has been piled onto them.

The Suffolk Police Department advises there is now much more traffic on primary roads, and they warn drivers to continue to be extremely cautious. The total number of weather-related accidents reported for this event is now 16, with 1 incident being a hit and run which involved a Public Works snow plow.

Virginia Beach:

By Friday afternoon, Drew Lankford with Virginia Beach Public Works said primary and secondary roads were clear. Many residential streets, however, were still covered with snow and ice.

“The main [roads] are good. Although, I think people are driving a little fast, because there are some spots that are a little icy. But the side roads are still a little iffy,” said resident Sandra Henry.

Trucks are still available to check on any problem spots and help clear storm drains.

Thursday evening, the city was warning residents about large amounts of plowed snow blocking storm water drains. This could result in a number of pools of water on city streets that will freeze overnight.

WAVY’s Deanna LeBlanc noticed crews were clearing the boardwalk Thursday morning and asked Lankford if that was to help pedestrians walk around. He told her it was actually so firefighters have a clear path to fight any fires that may spark at businesses at the boardwalk.

Lankford said 80 trucks were on city streets during the height of the storm with 1600 tons of salt and sand at their disposal. VDOT loaned Virginia Beach 50 of those trucks, mostly from western Virginia, which were a huge help, Lankford said.

The trucks covered more than 1,200 miles of road. Now the city is repairing and cleaning plow trucks and ordering more salt and sand for future storms.

Lankford said the road treatment for this week’s snowstorm was different from last week, when Virginia Beach roads were primarily covered in ice, making it hard for plowing. Last week, crews treated the ice with salt and sand, this week crews are able to plow first and then treat the roads because the snow is powdery.

LINK: Virginia Beach emergency preparedness information

For updates and announcements from the city of Virginia Beach, follow them on Facebook and Twitter, or call VB311 Citizen Services by dialing 757-385-3111. You can also visit the city’s website at www.vbgov.com.

Stay tuned to WAVY News 10 reports on the air and keep checking WAVY.com for the latest updates. Click here for more WAVY News reports from the field.

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