CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. — A month from today is the start of hurricane season and the Virginia Dept. of Transportation is still repairing roads from one of the storms that devastated Virginia last October.
Hurricane Michael’s strong winds and high water knocked out power to thousands across the state, including Lou’s Barber Shop in Danville, Va.
“The water was so strong and the winds was coming so fast, it didn’t give us a lot of time to maneuver but was able to make it out safely,” Louis Williamson, the shop owner, said.
Danville city leaders say the storm left about $9 million in damages. Roughly a third was infrastructure, such as damages to roadways.
The storm killed six people, including Hanover County firefighter Lt. Brad Clark.
Hundreds of roads were closed too in the Commonwealth. About 200 were closed in VDOT’s Richmond District. The last spot needing repairs, Mt. Herman Road in Chesterfield County, reopened last week.
“We had several roads that were washed out, bridges that were damaged,” VDOT spokesperson Bethanie Glover said. “The pavement can get washed away if roads are particularly low lying.”
The Otterdale Branch, a creek running under the road, rose and washed away the pavement. Wednesday, the water was much lower and cars could finally get through.
As of today, 16 roads that were damaged from Hurricane Michael are still closed throughout Virginia, primarily in Halifax and Pittsylvania counties as well as in the Fredericksburg area.
The road work is extensive and repairs are estimated to cost roughly $25 million, according to VDOT spokesperson Lindsay LeGrand.
With other weather events and planning time needed for repairs, Glover says the department has worked “as quickly as possible” to make sure these roads are safe to reopen for drivers.
VDOT officials say the department prepares every day for severe weather. Primarily, crews go through drainage facilities to make sure there’s no debris that could cause backups.
“We make sure those drainage facilities are clear at all times so that if the water should rise it will have a place to go,” Glover said.
Hurricane season starts June 1 and lasts until Nov. 30.
If you need to report a probably with a road, you can call VDOT’s customer service line at 1-800-367-7623. Also, you can plan your trip using the 511 App to see where there is road work being done along your route.