Last year we were faced with the burning question, “When will our streets get plowed?” Since our community was still developer run and the roads hadn’t been accepted by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) into its secondary road system, the developer was responsible for clearing the roads. The communication was poor, with many homeowners trying to get answers from the developer and our management company, on when our roads would be plowed. Now that our roads have been accepted in the VDOT system, it is now VDOT’s responsibility to clear them.
How soon will roads be passable after a winter storm? According to VDOT, it’s “goal is to make all roads passable within 48 hours after a winter storm ends. Our snow-removal crews will work around the clock until conditions are safe for travel.”
How does VDOT decide what roads to clear first? “Common sense dictates that roads carrying the most traffic get top priority. VDOT clears interstates and most primary roads first. It also plows major secondary roads with vital emergency and public facilities or those with high traffic volumes. Other secondary roads and subdivision streets will be treated if multiday storms hit Virginia, but crews will focus their efforts on those roads that carry the most traffic…Once the snow stops and main roads are clear, residential streets will be sanded or plowed.”
VDOT has created a nifty tool called “snowplow tracker.” This will allow you to find out where the plows are and when they might be close to our neighborhood.
Another question homeowners often ask is, “Why do plows block my driveway with snow when they clear the road?” VDOT offers this, along with some advice, “To make as many roads passable as quickly as possible, there is no way to avoid this practice…VDOT plow operators push snow off the roadway in smooth, continuous passes. It ends up in gutters and on road shoulders, sometimes blocking driveways. To avoid double work, shovel snow from your driveway after a plow has been by. Shovel it to the right of your driveway as you face the road.”
VDOT does not clear sidewalks or plowed over driveway aprons. That is the responsibility of the homeowner.
Here’s a good link to VDOT’s current snow removal preparation and procedures. It may answer some additional questions.