WVDOH road crews preparing for snow and ice
West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH) road crews in all 55 counties have snowplows ready and crews on standby to deal with snow and ice expected the evening of Friday, Jan. 13, 2023. “We prepare for an inch of snow the same way we prepare for 12,” said Joe Pack, P.E., WVDOH Chief Engineer of District Operations. The National Weather Service was predicting one to three inches of snow to accumulate in the Beckley area overnight, one to two inches in the Charleston area, about half an inch around Wheeling and varying amounts at other locations throughout the state. In Elkins, predictions were for two to four inches, with perhaps an additional two or three in the higher elevations. “We’re out. We’re treating now,” said WVDOH District 8 Engineer Jamie Rossi, P.E. “We’ll work through the weekend as we’re needed.” When snow is in the forecast, WVDOH garages all over the state put crews on standby to work around the clock, load up their snowplows and make sure everything is ready to clear roads of snow and ice. In particularly cold or mountainous areas crews may pretreat the roads with brine to make it easier for plows to remove snow and ice accumulations. Snow Removal and Ice Control (SRIC) crews in all 55 counties go through dry runs in the fall to make sure the drivers are familiar with their snow-clearing routes. In District 8, which contains some of the state’s most mountainous terrain, crews were expecting relatively light snowfall. But with temperatures there predicted to drop into the single digits, “We might be fighting some ice,” Rossi said. WVDOH District 4 Manager Mike Daley, whose district includes Preston and Taylor counties, has the following suggestions for drivers trying to negotiate snow and ice:
- Take note of the weather conditions before you leave home whether it be rain or snow.
- Reduce your speed.
- Leave yourself enough distance between you and other vehicles or “Leave yourself an out.” In case of a dangerous situation.
- Keep a change of clothes with you in your car in case of rain or snow, this will also help keep you from getting sick if you get wet in the cold.
- Keep plenty of food and drinks in your vehicle in case of an emergency.
- Keep any medications that may be necessary.
- Keep gas in your tank and don’t let your fuel tank get below a half of a tank; during cold weather condensation can build up in your fuel tank.
- Bridges and low-lying areas can freeze even at 30 degrees so be mindful of roads as you travel.
- Times when the weather is transitioning can be the most dangerous because it is harder to see when the roadways freeze.
- Always give service vehicles plenty of room to maneuver, whether it’s an emergency vehicle, first responder or a snowplow truck.
- Snowplows when plowing must operate at 25 mph or under, so be patient with workers working to clear our roads.
- Be cautious, be safe and be prepared.