Crews work to avoid a ‘travel nightmare’ on Monday morning

WASHINGTON — With cold pavement, a long holiday weekend, and an expected icy winter storm, Monday morning could become a travel nightmare.

Temperatures have been well below freezing all weekend, that has made every road surface very cold.  That will allow any snow that falls Monday to stick to the pavement much faster.

The good news is that crews have been putting down salt and sand all weekend to combat any potential icing during the deep freeze and will continue to put down treatment before and during the storm.

“Crews will be out [Sunday] treating roads in advance.  There’s a good window of opportunity to put down some chemicals in advance of the storm,” VDOT’s Jennifer McCord told WTOP. “That’s in addition to what drivers may see that’s already been on the roads the past couple of days.”

What drivers will not see on the roads will be a brine for pre-treatment.

“We try to avoid putting down a liquid on the pavement because that can sometimes lead to a freezing condition on the pavement,” McCord explained.  Instead, crews will be using salt and sand.

Typically, a storm that moves through on a weekday morning brings concerns about the impact on the commute to work.  But with the President’s Day weekend, the bigger concern is actually drivers passing through the region or returning home from a long weekend.

“We know that Monday holidays are typically high travel day also for folks that are heading home from long weekends,” said McCord. “We hope that drivers will still heed the warning of the weather across multiple states and to give some room for those crews.”

While this storm will not bring the snow totals the region saw during last month’s blizzard, the expected freezing rain could create even more dangerous conditions on the roads.

“Ice is a big concern,” added McCord.  “That can be just as dangerous, if not more dangerous, than a high level of snow.”

VDOT asks drivers to plan their travel so they are not on the road during the height of the storm.

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