Tuesday, January 26, 2016

VDOT: Patience Appreciated As Subdivision Work Continues

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) reports that crews are making significant progress on 16,000 subdivision streets across Northern Virginia.


VDOT's goal is to make one lane of all subdivisions passable by 6 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 27. If you do not have one passable lane by 6 a.m. tomorrow, contact VDOT at 1-800-FOR-ROAD or novainfo@vdot.virginia.gov.


Passable is defined by VDOT as the ability for a rear wheel drive vehicle to operate safely. This means that roads will not be cleared down to bare pavement and will not be cleared curb to curb. Clearing the remaining subdivisions involves heavy equipment and is more slow-going, especially from a blizzard this large.  Increasing traffic is a major problem and it is slowing the movement of heavy equipment and the snow removal process, it is also placing the public and heavy equipment operators in danger, so please stay off the roads.


Current Status

  • Streets that have not one passable lane are the main priority.
  • Primary and secondary roads remain treacherous—expect limited visibility from snow mounds at merges, intersections, and ramps. Use extreme caution, as many lanes have shifted, and can end unexpectedly. Crews are also treating for melting and refreezing every day.
  • Traffic has increased significantly.  Drivers are reminded to avoid travel, as it slows the movement of heavy equipment between subdivisions and places everyone at risk.
  • The excessive demand on the customer service center phone line (800-367-ROAD) and www.vdotplows.org site has caused server problems, which are being addressed.
  •  Crews are still working on streets and roads.  To give crews a chance to finish their plow assignments, VDOT asks that residents have patience reporting missed roads, as crews are working every snow assignment simultaneously.  We have more work to do, and are working as hard and fast as we can. 



  • Crews remain at a full mobilization level for at least the next 48 hours. 4,000 pieces of equipment are in service, including over 450 pieces of heavy equipment, and will continue to be redeployed to other areas as needed.  Additional heavy equipment and crews are being brought in.  If equipment is needed for emergency services, it will be redeployed immediately.
  • Crews are using equipment from VDOT and private contractors from as far as Connecticut, and any group that may have heavy equipment, including quarries and contractors. VDOT resources have been received from Lynchburg, Salem, Bristol, Richmond, and Hampton Roads.
  • VDOT invites contractors with loaders, Bobcats, motor graders and operators to contact VDOT Northern Virginia's procurement office at 703-259-3240


About Subdivision Clearing

  • Clearing the 16,000 subdivision streets is a major undertaking, with challenges such as tight spots, working around driveways, mailboxes, and limited space in cul-de-sacs. 
  • Due to the massive snowfall, passable secondary roads will have only one lane, narrow access points, will remain snow-packed and will not be cleared curb-to-curb. Crews will sand hills, curves and intersections where needed to provide traction.
  • VDOT has approximately almost four times the amount of equipment available in previous years, the type of equipment needed for this phase of the response is of a much larger scale and complexity. The smaller plows that VDOT typically uses in subdivision are effective up to 10 inches of snow.  Some neighborhoods of northern Virginia received upwards of 40 inches of snow and require heavier equipment. Front-end loaders and motor graders are typically snow of the equipment typically used for these special needs. 
  • Crews are not hauling snow, but simply moving it out of the road, to expedite the opening of the road. Work in subdivisions now requires heavy equipment that must be put on trailers and transported to subdivisions. Work that would take a plow one hour now takes between 8-10 hours for heavy equipment to complete.
  • Crews are asked to be mindful of pushing large piles of snow onto driveways, sidewalks, and fire hydrants.  
  • Within subdivisions, the first priority addressed is the major arteries, then side roads and cul de-sacs.  You may see crews treat a major artery several times before addressing a cul-de-sac. The arteries must remain passable for emergency vehicles.
  • If you are experiencing an emergency, please call 9-1-1. We work with public safety to redeploy as needed to support emergency response.


Other VDOT resources:


VDOT's Northern Virginia District includes Loudoun, Fairfax, Prince William and Arlington counties (Arlington maintains its own secondary roads).


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