VDOT needs better planning

Remember in January when we had a no snow forecast? Schools closed, businesses delayed openings, VDOT and public works initiated contingency plans. Danville pretreated its streets with 40,000 gallons of brine, and guess what? It did not snow.

Well, we had another no-snow event forecast on Feb 20. The National Weather Service (NWS) initially forecast snow for North Carolina and South Carolina at the beginning of the week. Virginia had a slight chance of snow. On Wednesday, some local forecasters said they disagreed with NWS and put their own spin on the forecasts. Lynchburg and surrounding counties were forecast for zero to an inch of snow.

Well, that is all VDOT and local public works had to hear. VDOT in Bedford pretreated U.S. 460 and U.S. 221. VDOT trucks were equipped with snow plow blades and salt spreaders, and personnel were put on standby. And guess what again? No snow!

I have several concerns with VDOT snow removal plans. When does less than one inch of snow constitute a waste of time, money and resources? Even if it had snowed, the streets and roads were too warm and snow would have not stayed on them. VDOT wasted thousands of gallons of brine on the roadways, put personnel on standby and spent taxpayer money on nothing. Why does this continue?

I do not know what weather service VDOT relies on for the decision to waste time, money and resources, but if it is local forecasters, I would have to question that decision. Some local forecasters start talking about snow at least a week in advance, and some do not rely on the NWS for the correct and updated models. All of this alarms residents of Lynchburg and surrounding counties, and sometimes causes panic and unnecessary preparations for a forecast of zero or less than an inch of snow. What ever happened to common sense? I think it goes out the window when the word snow is mentioned.

All of us need to bring VDOT to task and determine why they are wasting time, money and resources when no-snow events are forecast. Secondly, local forecasters need to rely on the NWS for the most updated models, stop putting their spin on the forecast and stop with all the hype of just a little or no snow. None of these benefit the taxpayer, and they should revisit their snow removal plans and their broadcast. A dusting of snow or less than an inch of the white stuff does not constitute wasting time, money and resources.



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