Primary roads remain under snow, ice, days after storm

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HAMPTON ROADS – A joint statement from Portsmouth, Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Chesapeake Mayors was issued Sunday, four days after nearly a foot of snow blanketed the cities.

The statement reads as follows:

“The blizzard of 2018 has brought tremendous snowfall totals, icing, and long-lasting bitter cold temperatures to the entire
Southside Hampton Roads region.

We have not seen this combination of conditions in decades, nor temperatures this cold in 100 years. The underlying ice layer, created by initial rain and then compounded by traffic, has made recovery particularly challenging.

Preparations started well before the storm, and personnel from each of the cities have been treating and clearing streets, responding to emergency calls of all sorts, and taking steps to assist our citizens wherever possible since last Thursday.

While we are focused on response within our individual borders, the leaders and senior management of all the cities have been in close contact throughout the event, sharing strategies, comparing conditions, and providing help where possible. Once again, Hampton Roads is showing that our regional ties are indeed strong.

Help has been forthcoming from our federal, state, and local partners, both professionals and volunteers, and we are grateful for all of their assistance. Plowing assistance by crews from the Virginia Department of Transportation, which concluded Saturday morning as they faced another impending storm in the western part of the state, was a significant asset across the region.

Although bitter cold and significant icing have made the clearing process challenging, plowing and treatment operations in the cities are beginning to show results on the larger streets, particularly the main east-west and north-south connectors and the streets leading to medical, fire, and emergency service facilities. None of the Southside cities plow or treat residential streets, both for reasons of resource allocation and due to the extensive safety and logistical hazards this would cause. We know this is inconvenient for our citizens. We are all looking forward to the forecast warm-up as the new week begins, and to the melting that will bring.

Travel will continue to be difficult for the next several days and we sincerely appreciate your patience as we work to clear the roads. If you must venture onto the roadways, please use extreme caution. Leave plenty of room between vehicles and generally assume that all roads, even those that appear clear, can have icy areas.

Please continue to check on your neighbors, particularly the elderly, and offer whatever assistance you can as they also weather the storm.

We want to thank all of our City employees, contractors, government partners, and volunteers who have worked so hard, for long hours, in such difficult conditions. We know the work is not complete, and we know you are dedicated to finishing the task.”

The  statement was posted on Facebook, which resulted in a stream of comments from residents. While many thanked the government officials for their city’s efforts, others expressed their concerns about the amount of snow left on the roads still.

Those concerns were echoed today by customers of Military Highway shopping centers.

Military Highway runs through Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Chesapeake. According to a spokesperson with Virginia Beach Public works, when it comes to treating roads like Military Highway it is up to each individual city to treat their portion of the road.

While crews in each city have been actively working to clear primary roads, many are still under a thick layer of snow and ice. With temperatures rising for the first time in days public works officials say slush from melted snow and ice could pose another risk to drivers.

Public works ask for drivers take their time while maneuvering through main roads and neighborhoods. They also ask for drivers to be patient behind road crews that are still out working to remove snow and ice.