UPDATE: VDOT warns about icy spots on secondary roads in southwest Virginia due to cold temperatures

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UPDATE 5:03 p.m.: Crews have been working since Thursday night to plow or treat western Virginia roads amid the winter weather. Even though many major roads in the region have been cleared as of Friday afternoon, gusty winds and refreezing are still a source of concern overnight and into Saturday.

VDOT’s Salem District says that a lot of interstates and primary roads (those numbered 1-599) are in clear condition as of 1:38 p.m. on Friday, but there may be some isolated slick spots.

In addition, crews have shifted their focus on secondary roads and neighborhood streets (those numbered 600 and above) in localities where snow accumulated, such as Craig, Giles, and Montgomery counties, as well as other locations in the higher elevations.

“Drivers should not expect bare pavement on plowed secondary roads as cold temperatures are causing ice and packed-down snow to remain on portions of these road surfaces even when they have been plowed or treated. Crews will be placing abrasives to help with traction,” VDOT’s Salem District reported Friday afternoon. “Conditions on some secondary roads will not improve until temperatures rise above freezing. Roads in the higher elevations and in cooler spots will have more packed-down snow.”

Drivers are urged to be cautious since below-freezing temperatures can cause wet pavement to become icy. Wind gusts may also cause snow to drift and reduce visibility. 

(WFXR) — The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) urges Friday morning motorists — especially in the New River Valley and counties along the West Virginia border — to watch out for snow patches and icy spots on the interstates and a number of main roads.

According to a 4:45 a.m. update from VDOT’s Salem District on Friday, Jan. 7, crews and contractors have been plowing and treating roads in portions of western Virginia since the night before.

On Friday morning, officials say that I-81, I-77, and most primary roads (1-599) are mostly clear with isolated slick spots.

Meanwhile, counties in the New River Valley and counties west of Roanoke near the border of West Virginia received the most snow, according to VDOT Salem. As a result, many secondary roads (those numbered 600 and above) in Montgomery County, Giles County, and Craig County are still covered in snow at this time.

However, the conditions are expected to improve throughout the day as snowplow drivers continue to make progress on these routes.

Over in VDOT’s Staunton District, officials say there are slick driving conditions throughout the Shenandoah Valley, the Rockbridge region, and the Alleghany Highlands after the overnight winter storm brought 3 to 6 inches of snow to the region.

Even though snowfall has tapered off in most areas of the Staunton District by early Friday, most roads in the region still have patches of snow and ice.

After VDOT employees and contractors throughout the district worked on rotating 12-hour shifts to plow and treat the roadways, officials say that I-81, I-64, and I-66 are in clear to minor conditions, with primary roads in minor to moderate condition and secondary roads in moderate condition.

Motorists up in the Staunton District are still urged to be careful if you need to drive Friday morning, especially since blowing and drifting snow is re-covering some roads that were plowed earlier.

As for the rest of the Commonwealth, VDOT says conditions vary, but precipitation fell in most regions overnight.

According to officials, crews will continue to work around-the-clock, treating slick patches and clearing roads until all state-maintained routes are safe for travel. 

The department says that sub-freezing temperatures are expected Friday night and over the weekend, which would lead to potential refreezing and icy conditions.

VDOT continues to encourage motorists to follow these winter travel safety tips:

  • Postpone travel as long as possible to give crews time to treat roads.
    • “Any snow or ice on roadways means travel is hazardous and should be avoided,” VDOT said.
  • Visit 511Virginia.org for the latest road conditions before traveling.
  • With temperatures still below freezing, drivers should use caution on bridges, ramps and overpasses where there may be icy patches or slick spots.
  • Reduce your speed.
  • Do not pass snowplows.
  • Keep an emergency winter weather kit in your vehicle with food, water, first aid materials, tools, and blankets in case of a breakdown or backup.

You are also asked to walk with caution because sidewalks and parking lots could be slippery.

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