VDOT PREPARED FOR HURRICANE SANDY
Safety Service Patrol will operate around the clock for the duration of the storm
COLONIAL HEIGHTS—The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is preparing to keep Richmond area roadways and motorists safe as the potential for flooding, heavy rain, high winds and debris associated with Hurricane Sandy remains high for the region.
In preparation for the storm, VDOT and maintenance contractors have been:
- inspecting and clearing culverts, ditches and inlets to prevent water from collecting on roadways during heavy rain,
- removing debris from the road and shoulder that could block drains,
- removing loose vegetation that could be uprooted by high wind,
- preparing chainsaws and equipping vehicles with necessary equipment (ropes, flashlights, flares, extra chains for chainsaws, batteries),
- and, inspecting and fueling vehicles.
Starting Sunday, Safety Service patrols will operate 24 hours a day for the duration of the storm to provide traffic control, assist emergency responders and motorists in distress along I-95, I-64 and I-295.
Based on the storm’s current forecast, VDOT crews and staff will begin emergency operations Sunday—working 12 hour shifts throughout the storm. Emergency operations will continue to assist emergency responders with traffic control, detours or road closures. The Safety Service Patrol and VDOT personnel will suspend emergency response activities in the event of sustained tropical storm winds of 39 mph or higher. Once conditions have improved, crews will work around the clock to clear all state-maintained roadways of debris.
Traveling on area roadways Sunday through Tuesday could be hazardous as a result of heavy rain and wind gusts. VDOT recommends drivers delay travel until unsafe weather conditions have passed. Motorists are encouraged to monitor weather reports and road conditions before traveling and take the following precautions:
· If a traffic signal is out, drivers are advised to treat the intersection as a four way stop.
- Never drive through water flowing across a road. It takes only six to 12 inches of water to float a small vehicle.
- Never drive around barricades. Remember, the road has been closed for your safety.
- Slow down when driving through standing water. Driving too fast through water could cause you to lose control and hydroplane.
- Avoid flood-prone areas, especially along creeks and other low-lying areas. Water in those areas can rise quickly and without warning during heavy rains.
- In the event of a flash flood warning for your area, seek high ground immediately.
- Watch for debris on the roadway. If you encounter a downed power line, do not try to move the line. Downed trees may contain power lines. Contact VDOT or Dominion Virginia Power.
Get the latest road conditions - Call 511, go to www.511virginia.org or download the mobile app at the 511 web site.
Report downed trees, hazardous road conditions or talk to a customer service representative – Call VDOT’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623).
Prepare for the storm and find out about other VDOT hurricane preparedness efforts – Visit www.VDOT.Virginia.gov
Richmond area traffic information is also available on Twitter @511centralVA. For general VDOT information, follow @VaDOT.
VDOT’s Facebook page will also be updated throughout the storm. https://www.facebook.com/VirginiaDOT