SHENANDOAH COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — Blue skies have appeared in most of the Shenandoah Valley following a fast-moving system that brought several inches of snow to our area, but a number of crashes are still causing significant issues and many secondary roads remain covered with slush.
Police responded to a large number of incidents throughout the morning and afternoon, including many crashes along the Interstate 81 corridor, as well as crashes on Rt. 42, Rt. 11, Rt. 211, Rt. 340, and many secondary roads throughout our area.
A series of crashes on Interstate 81 caused major delays in Shenandoah County throughout the afternoon, and for much of the morning into the afternoon, to our south, I-81 in Botetourt County was at a standstill.
The majority of crashes fortunately only involved damage to vehicles. As of noon, no traffic fatalities had been reported anywhere in Virginia, according to Virginia State Police. Police have not provided an update to that number since then.
By 6 p.m., all the crashes from earlier in the day that caused serious traffic delays had been cleared.
The most recent road condition report:
As of 4 p.m., VDOT listed Interstate 81 in moderate condition in Shenandoah County and minor condition for the rest of the Shenandoah Valley south of that.
Interstate 64 was listed in minor condition in Augusta County.
Primary roads were listed in moderate conditions throughout the Shenandoah Valley, with the exception being minor condition in Rockbridge County.
Secondary roads were listed in moderate condition throughout the entire valley.
Travel and road preparations:
All roadways are wet, with many covered in slush despite plowing and pre-treatment, and by nighttime, re-freezing will be a major concern throughout our area. Drivers should be alert for slick areas, especially on elevated surfaces like bridges, overpasses, and ramps.
VDOT crews will continue to treat and monitor roads. Ahead of the snow, crews applied brine to most major roads throughout our area on Monday.
According to VDOT, here is their basic workflow schedule for clearing snow from roads: Snowplows spread a mix of sand and salt to improve traction and help melt precipitation as it falls. Once snow accumulates to about two inches, plows begin pushing the slushy mix off the roadways. VDOT crews then work around the clock to clear roads, beginning with interstates and primary highways, then shifting to secondary roads and neighborhoods once the main roads are passable.
If you must travel in winter weather, police say to:
- Clear ALL snow and ice from the roof, trunk, hood and windows of your vehicle before you travel. It is illegal to drive with an obstructed view.
- Use your headlights
- Drive for conditions - slow your speed
- Allow enough time for delays
- Buckle Up
- Avoid distractions - put down the phone
- All wheel drive and four-wheel drive are recommended. If you are in a crash and your vehicle is not equipped or considered safe for the road conditions, you may be held responsible.
- Know before you go - check road conditions before heading out at www.511virginia.org. Look at the orange bar on the top of the page and click on “Text Views” and then click on “Road Condition Table." Look at the pull down box that lists all jurisdictions. In this box, individual counties can be chosen to view.
Virginians are advised to only call 911 or #77 on a cell phone in case of emergency. It is essential to keep emergency dispatch lines open for those in serious need of police, fire or medical response.