McAuliffe: Storm measures cost Va. millions per hour, but ‘we’re ready’

November 29, 2020 | (WTOP's Max Smith)

WASHINGTON — Virginia has moved extra snowplows and other equipment from Hampton Roads to Northern Virginia and the Interstate 81 corridor, where, Gov. Terry McAuliffe says, the state is ready for up to 3 feet of snow.

In an interview Friday morning from the governor’s command center in Richmond, McAuliffe says the full mobilization for the storm costs about $2 million to $3 million an hour across the commonwealth, out of the winter snow budget of about $202 million.

“Everything’s in place and we’re ready,” McAuliffe says. “The only thing I would ask everybody in Northern Virginia is: Please stay off the roads.”

He warns against getting stuck and abandoning cars on the road as people trapped in Wednesday night’s terrible commute did, since the cars will block plows.

McAuliffe acknowledges that roads were only treated with rock salt Wednesday, rather than pretreatments with brine ahead of time.

“If you don’t have to go out, just don’t go out,” he says.

With high temperatures expected to rise back above freezing early next week, McAuliffe hopes roads will be cleared from this storm by Monday, but the snow is expected to fall into the very early hours of Sunday, and the Virginia Department of Transportation’s goal in a storm like this is to get roads clear within 48 hours.

Preparations include an estimated:

  • 650,000 tons of salt on hand
  • 2 million gallons of liquid road treatment
  • 13,000 pieces of equipment
  • 2,500 state workers
  • 7,000 contractors
  • 700 members of the National Guard
  • Several dozen teams from other parts of the country brought in to help restore power after the storm

McAuliffe says pretreatments are done on all major roads, and VDOT is now preparing to plow what comes.

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