Following an unexpected freezing rain storm which resulted in the closure of the Springfield Interchange and hours of congestion on most major Northern Virginia, D.C. and Maryland highways, the Virginia Department of Transportation is reviewing its response to identify ways to better react to wintry mixes of this kind.
The agency will continue to work closely with Virginia State Police, the National Weather Service and other emergency response agencies to better understand the factors that led to gridlocked highways, dozens of accidents and motorists trapped for hours Tuesday night.
“The impact of a severe weather event on this region’s economy, mobility and commerce is significant,” says Commissioner David S. Ekern. “This was a perfect storm with the type of freezing that took place, the time of day it hit and the lack of advanced notice that would have allowed a better response. We take our emergency response mission very seriously, and we understand that our crews must keep the region’s highways flowing during all weather conditions.”
VDOT dispatched 278 salt trucks throughout Northern Virginia beginning late Tuesday morning. Crews began treating roads as soon as precipitation began to fall. VDOT had treated the majority of the roads, but not all of the ramps and bridges in the Springfield Interchange as the storm approached. Temperatures dipped and the pavement on bridges and overpasses quickly glazed over with ice.
“Had we known that icy conditions were imminent, we would have many more crews working on the Springfield Interchange,” says VDOT’s Northern Virginia District Administrator Morteza Salehi. "We are deeply sorry for the massive inconveniences that drivers faced yesterday. We will learn from this storm and will adjust our operations to better serve citizens in this area before the next storm arrives.”
To learn more about how VDOT responds to snow and ice, visit the link posted below.