VDOT says crews are ready for storm conditions

RICHMOND – VDOT crews stand ready across the state to respond to any unsafe traveling conditions and damage resulting from Hurricane Sandy, which is currently expected to impact Virginia beginning Saturday and lasting through Tuesday.

VDOT crews and staff in the eastern and northern portions of the state will begin emergency operation schedules tomorrow morning.

Crews will work in 12-hour shifts throughout the storm.

Emergency operations will continue to assist the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and other state agencies, localities and emergency responders throughout the storm with traffic control, detours and road closures.

“VDOT’s primary role before, during and after a hurricane is to ensure that the roadways are safe for travel,” said VDOT Commissioner Greg Whirley. “Our employees know their emergency roles and responsibilities have been trained and have years of field experience from past hurricanes and other extreme weather events.”

According to the latest weather reports, Sandy is expected to impact the I-95 corridor and regions east of the corridor with a steady and sustained rainfall and tropical force winds. Flooding, particularly in low lying areas, combined with fallen trees and other debris will make for hazardous driving conditions.

Due to the size of the storm, it will potentially impact Virginia into next Wednesday.

Conditions change quickly. Motorists are encouraged to monitor weather reports and road conditions before traveling.

Traveling on area roadways this weekend could be hazardous as a result of heavy rain and wind gusts. VDOT recommends drivers delay travel until unsafe weather conditions have passed.

During a hurricane, VDOT only closes bridges, ramps or roads when there is eminent danger to public safety such as high water, strong sustained winds, structural damage, or downed trees and debris blocking the roadway.

Following a hurricane, crews will work around the clock and in conjunction with utility companies, to clear all roadways of debris. Roads will be cleared and opened as quickly, and safely, as possible.
For more information about how to prepare for hurricanes or other threats, visit ReadyVirginia.gov, your comprehensive resource for emergency preparedness in Virginia.

Before a storm threatens your area, residents should:
• Assemble a disaster-supply kit for your family to use in case of an emergency
• Make a plan so you know what to do in the event of a storm
• Stay informed to know what threats you face
Information Resources

Get the latest road conditions – Call 511, go to http://www.511virginia.org or download the mobile app at the 511 web site.

Report downed trees, hazardous road conditions or talk to customer service representative – Call VDOT’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623).