RICHMOND - Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) urges motorists to limit travel on roadways until unsafe weather conditions pass. Flooding, high winds and downed trees and power lines will be the hazards.
Since the impacts of Hurricane Sandy started over the weekend, flooding has closed more than 30 secondary roads mainly in the Fredericksburg and Hampton Roads regions. The stormy weather is expected to bring heavy rain and high wind gusts across the state this morning with the northern region of Virginia hit the hardest.
About 1,000 VDOT crews and contractors will work throughout the storm to keep the roads as safe as possible and motorists informed of road conditions. VDOT crews will remove debris from roadways, which will involve cutting and hauling fallen trees, branches and other obstacles. This will be done in coordination with power crews as they fix power lines. VDOT will also assist the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and other state agencies, localities and emergency responders with traffic control, detours and road closures.
Crews in the western region of the state are standing by for snow removal. The storm is expected to cause cold weather, producing heavy snow fall in the higher elevations of western Virginia.
In the Hampton Roads region, all tunnels and water crossings are open. They are being monitored closely for storm impacts. In the event these facilities can no longer operate safely, they may be closed to motorists until the storm has passed and are deemed safe for travel. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is open but restricted to cars, pick-up trucks, mini-vans and SUVs.
Secondary road closures are reported in York, Richmond, Patrick, Northumberland, Matthews, Lancaster, King William, Isle of Wight and Essex counties. High wind advisories are posted on many roads in the Hampton Roads and eastern Virginia regions.
For a full list of road closures and conditions, click HERE.
What to watch out for:
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.
Message to motorists:
· Limit travel during height of storm.
· Monitor local weather and traffic reports before getting into the car.
· Before heading out the door, get the latest road conditions by calling 511, visit www.511virginia.org or download the mobile app from the 511 web site.
Other information resources:
Report downed trees or hazardous road conditions - 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
Hampton Roads area traffic updates are available around the clock on Twitter by following @511hamptonroads. For general VDOT information, follow @VaDOT.
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