Weather forecasts predict a possible historic snowfall for the Shenandoah Valley region on Jan. 22-23. Virginia Department of Transportation crews and contractors are prepared to begin 24-hour snow removal operations beginning Thursday night in some locations.
VDOT is asking the public to plan on stocking up on food, fuel and medicine prior to Friday morning when the snow is forecast to begin. During the storm and immediately after it ends, all travel should be avoided and people should plan to shelter-in-place. Having fewer vehicles on the road will help plows do their job quicker.
As the public prepares for winter weather, VDOT crews are also busy in pre-staging personnel and equipment. The 11-county VDOT Staunton District will have 1000 pieces of equipment including VDOT trucks and contractor equipment deployed for plow operations. There will be 2000 people performing snow removal, which includes VDOT crews as well as contractors.
Crews’ schedules will adjust to allow 12-hour shifts to begin Thursday night in the southern end of the Staunton District and then move into full 12-hour shifts on Friday for the entire Shenandoah Valley region. Anti-icing operations began on Thursday morning after temperatures warmed past overnight lows in the teens.
Plows and wreckers will be pre-staged along the interstate system and watch crews will be available to monitor the beginning of the storm.
Due to below normal temperatures experienced this week it is anticipated that snow will quickly stick to roadways and plows will begin their work soon after the first flakes arrive.
In Alleghany County approximately 5.5-miles of Route 606 (Sulphur Spring Road) will be closed to through traffic beginning at 11 p.m. Thursday. Route 606 is a narrow roadway through mountainous terrain, and can be dangerous during winter weather. The road will reopen when conditions allow. The closure will be between Route 699 (Morris Hollow Road) and Route 703 (Airport Road).
For winter weather road conditions go to www.511Virginia.org, look at the orange bar on the top of the page and click on “Text Views” and then click on “Road Condition Table”. Look at the pull down box that lists all jurisdictions. In this box individual counties can be chosen to view.
Traffic alerts and traveler information also are available at 511Virginia.org. The 511 system is also available in app form. Visit VDOT’s Free Virginia 511 Tools to get your 511 app for android or iOS. Traffic alerts and traveler information can be obtained by dialing 511.
For other assistance call the VDOT Customer Service Center, available 24 hours-a-day, seven days a week. Citizens can dial 1-800-FOR- ROAD (1-800-367-7623) from anywhere in the state to report road hazards, ask transportation questions, or get information related to Virginia’s roads.
The Staunton District Twitter feed is at @VaDOTStaunton. VDOT can be followed on Facebook, Flickr,Twitter and YouTube. RSS feeds are also available for statewide information. The VDOT Web page is located at www.VirginiaDOT.org.
The VDOT Staunton District serves Frederick, Shenandoah, Clarke, Warren, Page, Rockingham, Augusta, Highland, Rockbridge, Alleghany and Bath counties.