The accidents and closures started piling up before dawn. 4AM on the Western Freeway in Portsmouth, 5AM on I-64 in Norfolk, and 6AM on I-464 in Chesapeake–all because of black ice.
VDOT says they never saw it coming.
According to their forecast models, there wasn’t supposed to be enough rain to cause problems–but bridges and overpasses became slip and slides as car after car fell into the trap.
VDOT says their staffing was enough for a normal morning commute, but not enough to deal with massive areas of black ice.
They called in reinforcements just before 5AM, but it was still hard to keep pace.
In all, the black ice shut down two major roadways, closed four exit ramps, and caused at least 12 accidents.
Several crashes on I-64 in Norfolk kept eastbound drivers at a standstill for hours.
Traffic was a nightmare in Downtown Norfolk, with accidents blocking the Berkley Bridge before the Downtown Tunnel.
Drivers had no alternatives to get around it, since several exit ramps were iced over.
Cars were also bouncing off jersey walls on I-464, after hitting black ice patches.
Between 4 am and 10am, VDOT’s 511 page sent out more than 80 tweets; but no information was given about how to avoid the closed roads.