VDOT Mans Up for Winter
Changes to plow policy
"Gentzler, Doreen (NBC Universal)"
photos from Doreen's family
From: Bill Miller [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, February 10, 2010 4:14 PM
To: Gentzler, Doreen (NBC Universal)
Subject: blizzard photos
Here are some photos from today
Branco Vlacich is a master of understatement. VDOT’s Assistant District Administrator for Maintenance describes the winter of 2009-2010 in this way: “Last year was a challenging year.”
Vlacich said VDOT has it all covered this year. There are two big changes in the winter storm plan. “No. 1: We got 600 additional trucks and we plan to use the bulk of those trucks in subdivisions.”
We can hear the cul-de-sacs cheering now.
What’s No. 2?
“We used to wait until two inches of snow was on the ground before we deployed those trucks in subdivisions. Now, as soon as it’s forecast that two inches or more is coming, we will pre-deploy those trucks. So they'll be waiting for the snow."
Pre-deploy. It has a nice ring to it.
This year, VDOT has a statewide snow removal budget of $115.1 million, a $21.4 million increase over last year’s budget. That sounds like a nice healthy boost. Until you consider last winter’s snow operations cost $266.8 million.
As for supplies, VDOT has about 48,000 tons of sand, 281,000 tons of salt, and almost a half million gallons of liquid anti-icing chemicals on hand and can order more if necessary.
Commonwealth officials are hoping to use one more tool: the auto vehicle locator.
“Yeah, we’re really excited about that. It’s an opportunity for some of our trucks to have an automatic locator on them so we'll know when those trucks have been in subdivisions or if they haven't, which is really a valuable tool for us because currently, we have to actually dispatch people in pickup trucks to find out whether or not a subdivision has been completed,” Vlacich said.
One imagines the other tip-off involves calls from citizens in danger of smothering under three feet of snow.
VDOT plans to offer cash to drivers as an incentive to install the vehicle locators.
Whatever it takes.