VDOT: Road crews ready for cold weather

SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – As temperatures drop in Hampton Roads, the Virginia Department of Transportation is on alert.

“In advance of any kind of storm, temperature change, anything, VDOT’s first priority is safety of the roadway, safety of the driver,” VDOT spokeswoman Laurie Simmons said. “We forecast any kind of temperature changes or storm fronts that come through and really try to figure out if it’s going to affect our roads and bridges.”

Simmons said since there no rain or snow is predicted in the next few days, the roads should have no problems.

“There’s not enough precipitation, if any at all, that would cause any conditions on the bridges that would be dangerous for drivers,” she said. “All of the forecasts are showing dry pavement conditions and dry bridge deck conditions.”

VDOT uses an online forecasting system that shows hour-by-hour bridge deck temperatures and pavement temperatures for all of the cities in Hampton Roads. It’s also one of the things VDOT uses to decide whether to staff more crews or close bridges and tunnels.

“That is what tells us really what’s going to be happening on the roads for drivers and whether there’s going to be ice, snow, rain etc.,” Simmons said.

Aside from making sure you are safe on the roads, Simmons said safety of the workers during the bitter blast of cold weather is also of concern.

“We actually have message boards in all of our residencies and area headquarters that have winter weather tips for our employees to stay safe, making sure that they are layering, making sure that they are watching how long they are outside when these temperatures get this cold,” she said.

As of Wednesday, crews were staffed as normal, but VDOT is ready with a staff that can work 24/7, if things change.

“We always have to be prepared for the fact that the forecast could be wrong, they are just that, predictions,” Simmons said.

The Safety and Service Patrol and crews at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel were also staffed normally on Wednesday.

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