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Posted at 7:29 PM ET, 01/25/2011

VDOT cancels overnight road work

By Robert Thomson

None of the big projects that drivers are used to encountering during overnight travel in Northern Virginia will be set up tonight. That will clear the way for the road crews to prepare for Wednesday's storm.

The Virginia Department of Transportation announced that it has canceled Tuesday night work on four of the biggest projects in the D.C. region -- the High Occupancy Toll lanes on the Capital Beltway, the Dulles Metrorail project, the Fairfax County Parkway extension and the Beltway/Telegraph Road interchange.

This has nothing to do with the Tuesday night forecast, which the Capital Weather Gang describes as quite boring. VDOT, like the highway departments in the District and Maryland, has put more emphasis in recent years on pre-treating roads in anticipation of winter storms.

Virginia crews are out pre-treating traditional trouble spots on Interstates 66, 95, 395, and 495, including bridges and ramps prone to freezing. Those include the Springfield interchange, I-66 at Route 29 and the Capital Beltway interchange at Route 1. They get treated with liquid magnesium chloride. VDOT says that problem spots on other major roads, such as the Fairfax County Parkway and Routes 1, 7, 28, 29, 50 and 123, are being pre-treated with salt brine.

By 10 p.m., VDOT says, 1,700 trucks will be ready to clear roads once snow hits the pavement. Salt trucks will be positioned along Interstates and major roads throughout Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties so they can respond quickly when the going gets tough.

All the departments in the region adjusted their plans to a greater or lesser extent after last winter's tremendous storms. The forecast for Wednesday doesn't call for anything like that, but here's the warning from the Capital Weather Gang:

We'll start Wednesday with light precipitation entering the area. The best odds to stay all snow are in the west and northwest suburbs, but anything that falls early should be light and fairly inconsequential. Look for highs to reach the mid- or upper 30s around midday with temperatures falling back toward and below 32 as snow gets underway. Precipitation -- mainly snow -- picks up in intensity to the southwest by midday, and any rain transitions to snow elsewhere as the afternoon progresses into evening across the rest of the area. Moderate to heavy snow is likely during the late afternoon through the evening, with snow persisting till about midnight when the storm moves off to the east.

The forecast has changed a lot today, and it's best to keep checking in.

By Robert Thomson  | January 25, 2011; 7:29 PM ET
Categories:  Advisories, Driving, Weather  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, VDOT  
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