Road conditions treacherous

Published 9:40 am Tuesday, February 17, 2015

UPDATED 11:15 p.m.: The Virginia Department of Transportation is urging commuters to allow extra travel time on Wednesday morning.

Temperatures are expected to fall to record lows overnight, resulting in dangerous driving conditions, according to a news release.

“Drivers who have to be on the road should be extra cautious, as roadways may refreeze,” the press release stated.

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VDOT will be treating bridges, overpasses, ramps and shoulders that have icy patches.

Meanwhile, Virginia State Police was working an accident with life-threatening injuries at Bowers Hill.

It happened at 9:38 p.m. on Interstate 264 westbound to northbound 664. No other information was available.

UPDATED 2:45 p.m.: City crews have treated and plowed all primary roads at least once since the storm ended, but road conditions remain hazardous in many areas and will get worse tonight, officials warned.

About 4.5 to 5 inches fell on average in Suffolk, according to a city press release. The winter storm watch was lifted Tuesday morning.

As of 1 p.m., Suffolk police had responded to 24 accidents since 8 p.m. Monday. One accident involved injuries, which were not considered life-threatening. Police also assisted more than 79 disabled motorists during that time frame.

Suffolk Public Works crews have continued to work in 12-hour shifts treating roadways. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management reminds motorists that hazardous travel conditions remain because snow and ice-covered roads, especially secondary roads, are slippery. These conditions may worsen tonight because any melting that occurs Tuesday will freeze after sunset and lead to areas of black ice. Motorists should allow extra time to reach their destination, avoid sudden stops or accelerations and use extra caution on bridges and overpasses.

Suffolk Public Works currently has 21 snowplows and spreaders in operation, according to the press release. All primary roads have been plowed and treated at least once, and some have been plowed and treated multiple times. Areas where the roadway is being shaded by trees are receiving extra attention.

Ramps and major secondary roadways are now being cleared.

Refuse collection that would have occurred Tuesday now will take place Wednesday, with the collection scheduled delayed by one day throughout the rest of the week. TFC Recycling also canceled Tuesday’s collection because of the snow.

Public Works crews may be able to turn their attention to larger neighborhoods within the next 24 hours, according to the press release. They are requesting that citizens remove parked vehicles from the roadways where possible so that snowplows are not impeded. Some neighborhoods will not be able to be plowed because of dead ends, lack of turning radius and other factors, according to the press release.

Businesses and homeowners can also assist in snow removal efforts by clearing private property.

Another burst of snow is expected Wednesday evening, according to the Suffolk Department of Emergency Management. Little accumulation is expected, but daytime temperatures in the single digits could lead to roadways re-freezing.

UPDATED 1:54 p.m.: Virginia State Police reports its Chesapeake division has seen 283 traffic crashes, 231 disabled vehicles and 747 total calls for service since winter weather began yesterday.

One state trooper, Carnell Draughn Sr., was injured Monday while investigating a traffic crash on Interstate 264 in Portsmouth. He was seated inside his vehicle at 8:13 p.m. in the westbound lanes near Frederick Boulevard when another vehicle lost control and struck his car, according to a state police spokeswoman.

He was transported to Chesapeake General Hospital for treatment of minor injuries. He was released Monday evening.

UPDATED 1 p.m.: The U.S. Postal Service is asking the public to help them deliver the mail this week by keeping sidewalks, pathways and other approaches to and from their mailbox free of snow and ice so letter carriers can safely deliver the mail.

“Mounds of snow and patches of ice in front of mailboxes create havoc for carriers trying to safely deliver the mail,” according to a press release. “Residents maintaining a clear path to the mailbox — including steps, porches, walkways and street approach — will help postal carriers maintain consistent delivery service. Customers receiving curbside delivery should also ensure clear access to their mailboxes for letter carriers who deliver from the street.”

Postal employees make every reasonable effort to deliver mail in many difficult weather conditions. However, delivery service may be delayed or curtailed whenever streets or walkways present hazardous conditions for letter carriers or when snow is plowed against mailboxes. If mail delivery is curtailed, delivery is attempted the next delivery day.

Earlier: With snow still covering many of Suffolk’s roads and frigid temperatures complicating clearing efforts, nearly all public activity in Suffolk was shut down Tuesday morning.

Public Works crews continued to operate on the 12-hour shifts they had started on Monday, with 20 trucks equipped with plows and spreaders working to clear the city’s roads of the mixture of snow and ice that had fallen starting Monday afternoon.

By 5:30 p.m. Monday, the Suffolk Department of Public Works had “applied more than 9,000 gallons of brine solution to primary and most secondary roadways,” Suffolk spokeswoman Diana Klink stated in a press release late Monday night. Plow and spreader trucks had also been spreading a sand-and-salt mix to the roads throughout the evening.

Still, reports on Tuesday indicated treacherous conditions, with cars in ditches throughout the city and public works employees struggling to keep up.

For an up-to-date listing of closings, cancellations and delays around Suffolk, click here:

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