The Virginia Department of Transportation has announced its plans to get ahead of potential winter weather conditions that could have an impact on the D.C. region this weekend.
VDOT said crews will begin pretreating Interstate 95 around Fredericksburg, the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula Thursday morning in preparation for the possibility of snow and ice arriving.
The transportation agency warned that motorists could experience slowdowns on major roadways in Virginia on Thursday and Friday. It warned that the crews treating the roads with a salt brine solution have to move slowly to ensure precision and proper absorption in the pavement.
Starting around 9 a.m. Thursday, crews will begin spraying on I-95 southbound at Exit 140/Courthouse Road in Stafford County and head south to mile marker 101 in Caroline County. They will then turn around and treat the northbound lanes up to Exit 148/Quantico.
VDOT warned motorists to avoid travel during and immediately after the storm, as roads may be icy regardless of how well-treated they were.
The ability to pretreat the roads ahead of the potential winter storm is something VDOT was not able to do for the snowstorm that arrived on Jan. 2. That, combined with heavy snow conditions, led to several cars and trucks crashing and becoming stuck in I-95, which caused a backup that left motorists stranded — some of whom were stuck for over 24 hours.
Transportation officials apologized for what happened and said there is an interagency action report being put together reviewing what actions were taken before and during the storm, and what lessons can be learned going forward.