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Southwest Virginia's salt/plow truck crews keep up with latest winter blast

February 4th, 2013 10:09 am by Steve Igo

WISE -- An extended weekend slog for Virginia Department of Transportation snowplow/salt truck crews paid off for motorists by Monday morning with all primary routes reported clear and secondary roads not too bad off from one last blast of light but persistent snowfall across many areas of the region at around dusk on Sunday.


Continuous snow showers since Thursday evening kept VDOT crews working around the clock through the weekend, and crews will maintain that schedule through Tuesday as one more clipper is expected to sweep across the region Monday night into Tuesday morning.


Temperatures are expected to improve considerably, however, with predictions of rain Monday night expected to turn into snow by dawn Tuesday, then warmer temperatures and better weather through the rest of the week.


Wise County schools were closed again Monday with early morning temperatures at around 18 degrees and secondary roads sporting patches of snow and icy conditions.


"Actually, by this morning all of our primaries had been cleared out and dried out nicely. We don't seem to have any problems on our primary roads," said VDOT Wise Residency Administrator Allan Sumpter at around 9 a.m. Monday. The VDOT Wise Residency supervises road maintenance in Lee, Wise, Scott and Dickenson counties.


"But with our overnight lows in the mid-teens and low-20's, that caused a refreeze on our secondaries, so many of our secondaries are still covered with snow. Our crews are going to be working on them throughout the day today."


Most secondary routes had been cleared in spite of persistent snow showers throughout the day Sunday, but one final snow shower at dusk, particularly around the Wise and Norton areas, re-dusted the side roads one final time.


"Temperatures are supposed to be warming up today and through the week so we anticipate seeing a lot of these roads clearing up pretty quickly," Sumpter said. "We've used quite a bit of salt these last few storms so we're working on resupplying those stocks. We have a resupply scheduled for this week."


VDOT crews are prepared for whatever comes the region's way overnight into Tuesday, he added.


"They are calling for a little bit of a mix, but the percentage is not all that high," Sumpter said, "but we will continue to have our crews working overnight to monitor that and treat when and where and as necessary."


Those crews haven't had a weekend off in a while, but if predictions hold true they may get one this weekend. During winter storms VDOT crews work 12-hour shifts around the clock.


"Everybody seems to be doing pretty well. They have worked quite a few hours the last few weeks. The last three weekends straight we've had folks out working around the clock, but we've also had some breaks through the week to get people rested up," Sumpter said.


"The big challenge has been for a night crew to go days and then go back to nights, and day guys work nights then back to days, so it's a little challenge on sleep patterns. But everybody seems to be holding up pretty good."

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