Hampton Roads prepares for colder temps and icy road conditions

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - With freezing temperatures and snow in the forecast it is never too early to start preparing for poor road conditions in order to keep you and your family safe.

VDOT and Public Works Departments across the region are already dusting off their snow plows and stocking up on salt. A press release from VDOT says their crews and supplies are ready for whatever winter brings.

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“We began preparing in October with equipment checks and dry runs,” said VDOT Hampton Roads District Administrator Jim Utterback.”  Year round, Utterback added, “We work to keep our salt domes and sand piles stocked and our pre-treatment supplies on hand for a quick and complete roll out.”

Chesapeake Public Works is also ready to respond to snowy and icy roadways where you and your loved ones drive. A spokeswoman for the department encourages drivers to travel with caution, stay off slippery roadways, increase your following distance and try to avoid secondary roads as they are not maintained as much as interstates and main highways.

Another thing to keep in min according to officials, give snow plows and salt trucks space to work so they can get their job done and move on to other roads.

Officials advise drivers to make sure your car is ready for storm travel:

  • Fully winterize your vehicle: Have a mechanic check antifreeze, brakes, heater and defroster, tires, and windshield wipers to ensure they are in good shape.  Keep your gas tank at least half full.
  • Keep an extra emergency kit specifically created for your car: In addition to the basic essentials, consider adding a portable cell phone charger, ice scraper, extra blanket, sand for traction and jumper cables.
  • Rock salt or more environmentally safe products to melt ice on walkways. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency for a complete list of recommended products.
  • Sand to improve traction.

Thursday at 9 a.m., VDOT held a press conference about their safety preparations on December 7 at 9 a.m. They say their goal is to have all state maintained roads passable within 48 hours after a storm ends, if we see snow. They tell News 3 preparations started in October for the winter season.

"Snow takes a precedence over everything else that we do," Transportation Operations Manager, Tracy Lassiter said.

About 470 pieces of equipment are ready to respond during inclement weather in Hampton Roads.

They've all had maintenance checks and crews have test driven them.

"They check for curbs, they check for manhole covers, things that you may not see if we get a heavy snow," Lassiter added.

There's also a ton of supplies including sand to avoid cars from sliding and salt to help melt the snow off the roads.

Bill Collier, the district maintenance manager in Hampton Roads said, "In our district we have about 24,000 tons of salt about 14,000 tons of sand."

VDOT says when needed they will be putting down brine to pre-treat the roadways, but have not made plans to do so for this weekend at this time.

VDOT assures there will be caution signs on the back of all their moving equipment.

They also ask drivers to give enough space between you and the dump trucks while they're working to make the roads safe. Also to not get impatient when driving behind any of the trucks. It can be more dangerous if you decide to speed around them.

"We don't want to tailgate people in regular good weather we certainly don't want to tailgate folks in inclement weather," Lassiter added.

Stay with News 3 as our meteorologists track any threat for cold or severe weather.