Where’s VDOT?

There we were, at about six tonight, leaving Fairlington for Courthouse and some delectable steak. Sadly, VDOT was nowhere to be found. The closest thing we saw to a road crew was a single guy with a bucket of salted sand on 31st. St South, trying to help a stranded Metrobus get up the hill.

395? Disaster area. Average speed was approximately 30mph, with significant snow on the road, no sign of a plow or salt truck, and a lot of people skidding around on the exit and entrance ramps.

Rosslyn? Total write-off. Our friends said there were many stuck cars, including another Metrobus stuck at the Wilson/Lynn St area, causing all manner of delay. Again, no salt trucks to be seen, nary a plow or other vehicle.

It wasn’t until coming home through Ballston we saw our first treated road: Glebe Road had some salt treatment. Most of the other roads still had a fine patina of snow and slipperiness. How is it that VDOT and Arlington missed the entirety of the week’s forecasts calling for 1-2″ of snow on Sunday? Seriously guys, did you think they were kidding?

7 Comments so far

  1. Carl Weaver (unregistered) on January 21st, 2007 @ 9:49 pm

    I am so glad I canceled the class I was supposed to teach tonight.


  2. Jason (unregistered) on January 21st, 2007 @ 10:37 pm

    Why is it a disaster area, again? Because a half inch of snow on the road forced you to drive 30mph? There are a lot of roads out there, and as our region doesn’t get much snow, the transportation services don’t have thousands of plows & salt/sand trucks.

    As someone originally from Upstate NY, I’m amused by how so little snow is seen as a major problem. If everyone just slowed down a bit on the roads for safety and planned a little more time into their trips, there wouldn’t be a big problem.


  3. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on January 21st, 2007 @ 11:01 pm

    It’s a disaster area because people around here can’t drive with even a flake on the ground. They think their SUVs are imbued with magic steering systems impervious to all elements, but they’re not. And of course we have all the people in from out of the area who’ve never driven on it before and go sliding. With all the stuck cars on the road, it becomes impassable.

    My primary point is that it was entirely avoidable if VDOT had properly treated the roads.


  4. Tiff (unregistered) on January 21st, 2007 @ 11:17 pm

    We are well aware of the fact that there is less snow-removal equipment here. Duh. But being from a snowy climate myself, it never ceases to amaze me that Every. Single. Year. the snow starts falling and the local road-management authorities seem caught completely unawares. Like, they’ve never seen these Albino Brain-Chiggers from Space before, and have no idea what to do with them.

    There is absolutely no reason, no reason at all, that 395 could not have been treated as the snow started to fall. It’s one of the most important arteries in Northern Virginia and yet nary a crystal of salt had been dropped there.

    And why is this so important? Because as Tom pointed out, there are an inordinate number of people here who have no idea how to drive in snow, and even more dangerously, some of them seem to think that their SUVs mean they don’t have to know.

    I don’t mind lowering my speed and taking the appropriate steps to ensure that I can drive safely in snow- I’ve been doing it for as long as I’ve owned a car. But what I DO have a problem with is people who have no clue and yet are out driving on untreated roads. Should they stay home or learn how to handle it? Yes. But VDOT shouldn’t let itself get taken by surprise when they have several days’ notice when the snow is coming.


  5. rosemary (unregistered) on January 22nd, 2007 @ 3:45 am

    My family and I were quite impressed with MD’s snow crews, who came out and salted/sanded the crap out of our neighborhood streets at around 7pm. (I live in the middle of fucking nowhere and in previous years, it’s taken days-weeks in order to get any salt/sand, even when the snow has been heavier.)

    Good on MD for not being a screwup for once. (But it sounds like it sucked across the river.)


  6. Mik (unregistered) on January 22nd, 2007 @ 9:00 am

    395/495/270/95 all sucked big hairy donkey’s balls. But I will say this, MD has their ducks all in a row. Man those roads were treated pretty darn quickly, even 270 out in east/west/north/south b.f., I was impressed that the local crews in Clarksburg had taken the time to sand/salt, and yet was afraid too afraid of the drunks and the Nova road conditions to drive home after the game.

    This morning, the commute into Nova was great, until I hit 29 off of 66…


  7. Don (unregistered) on January 22nd, 2007 @ 10:01 am

    VDOT was a similar no-show for us. And my response to Jason about what about that bugged me – I don’t necessarily need them to come remove every flake, but I don’t think expecting the sand trucks to start working when the snow starts falling is an unreasonable expectation. Even a quarter-inch can make moving at above a crawl difficult if there’s NO prep work done, and as far as I can see that’s exactly how much was done.

    My darling girlfriend and I were driving south on 395 at about eight, just past the air force memorial. From the overpass I was on I could SEE the big quonset hut they store sand in. And there wasn’t a grain down. Seriously, you think that’s so much to ask?



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