HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia Department of Transportation says they are poised and ready: Crews started treating the roads by Wednesday morning, more than 24 hours before the snow was expected to arrive in the Hampton Roads region.

The agency says it has an ample supply of both salt and brine to handle the winter weather.

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You might have seen the lines of brine along the travel lanes of local interstates. It’s a mixture of salt and water.

“What that brine does is it’s absorbed into the pavement and it will reduce the freezing temperature of the pavement to help prevent icing when conditions get ripe for it,” said Holly Christopher of VDOT’s Hampton Roads District.

Don’t worry about the mess that paralyzed Interstate 95 two weeks ago. The local VDOT district keeps its own supplies of salt and brine, and this is the first major snowstorm of the season.

“Following every event, we restock our inventory, so it’s constantly being restocked. And so we are in a very strong position right now,” Christopher said.

Snow started arriving Thursday afternoon and some local municipalities said they’d start working their trucks on 12-hour shifts to clear secondary highways and city streets. Chesapeake has an extra challenge after recently suspending bulk-item pickup service. The same drivers and trucks are used for snow removal, but a city spokesman said Chesapeake will be prepared.

“The safest thing you can do is to stay home,” Christopher said regarding the rest of the week. If you must be out on the roads, she advises packing a blanket, extra clothes, water and food. If you see a plow, make sure you give enough cushion of space around it so that crews can do their job.

The VDOT hotline to report hazardous road conditions can be reached at 800-367-7623. But Christopher says you don’t need to call to report snow plows that don’t have their plows down in the early stages of snowfall. Trucks need a base of at least two inches of snow before they can plow to avoid damaging the road surface.

VDOT on Friday said they had activated more than 300 trucks with plows and spreaders to address the storm’s impact in Hampton Roads. Plowing will be done where accumulation is more than 2 inches.

Virginia Beach Public Works officials tell us they’re ahead with their preparations.

“We got started earlier in the week. We’ve got plenty of salt and sand here. We’ve got a lot of trucks loaded now,” explained Drew Lankford, a spokesperson for the department. “A lot of what we’re doing is just waiting to see how the forecast unfolds you know ’cause there’s always you know six different ways it could go right up until it starts falling.”

A large concern with the city’s coastal region is the moisture that could gather and sit on our powerlines or roads. That’s why they’ve pretreated some of the busier and necessary travel areas.

“We always make it a priority to be sure the streets leading to the fire stations and the hospitals are as clear as we could get them. We have priority for our snow routes and we do primary roads and some of the secondary roads,” Lankford said.

Regardless of how much ice preparation there is, the best advice experts have for drivers is to avoid the roads altogether if they can.

“We’re always asking people in those situations just don’t get out here if you don’t have to. People think they can navigate it. They get a big 4×4 and they think ‘Oh there won’t be a problem’… we pulled a lot of 4x4s out of the ditches. You’re gonna can’t see that black ice and you’re gonna start skidding,” he said.

State police remind the public of several necessary things to ensure safety on the roads:

  • Clear off all snow from your vehicle – windows, roof, trunk and lights 
  • Add extra time to reach travel destination
  • Slow speed for road conditions
  • Increase driving distances between vehicles for increased stopping distance
  • Buckle up and don’t drive distracted
  • MOVE OVER for all stopped emergency vehicles & highway vehicles

Visit 511Virginia.org for the latest information on road conditions.

Visit this website for more information on traffic in North Carolina.