Western Tidewater prepares for winter storm Octavia

Published 1:59 pm Monday, February 16, 2015

People drive down Armory Drive as snow starts to fall. Photo by Cain Madden

People drive down Armory Drive as snow starts to fall. Photo by Cain Madden

The Virginia Department of Transportation began treating roads on Monday morning in preparation for a storm that’s been described as “crippling and potentially historic,” depending on the region of the county in which you live.

With a mixture of heavy snow, frozen precipitation and cold temperatures with high winds in the forecast, crews have been focusing their anti-icing efforts along Routes 58 and 460. Once completed, VDOT will then focus on secondary roads throughout the City of Franklin, as well as Isle of Wight and Southampton counties.

The National Weather Service in Wakefield issued a winter storm warning for Southeastern Virginia on Monday morning, so VDOT started spraying the primary routes with brine — a highly-concentrated saltwater solution — shortly thereafter. The primary focus includes pretreating bridges and ramps along the route, as they’re typically the first to freeze during winter storms.

With the snow total projections reaching 4 to 6 inches, and the expectation that the roadways will become progressively worse into Tuesday, VDOT crews will remain on standby and ready to respond to any trouble spots on the roads. This includes working with utility companies to remove downed trees or repair power lines that may fall onto the road.

VDOT wants to remind motorists to always use extreme caution — watching for ice, especially on ramps, bridges, overpasses, hills and curves — and reduce speeds when traveling in these conditions. The department also encourages drivers to keep an emergency driving kit in your car; prepare your vehicle by keeping windows, lights and mirrors clean; keep a safe driving distance between other vehicles and yourself; and allow for additional travel time.

For the latest information regarding the winter weather conditions and advisories, visit www.511virginia.org, call 511 or listen to Highway Advisory Radio (HAR) 1680 AM.