VDOT makes changes after audit found it lacked contractors during severe snowstorms

Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 5:18 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Five months ago, an audit found the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) struggled to hire enough contractors to clear the road during severe snowstorms.

And as we head into colder weather, VDOT spokesperson Jason Bond explains what improvements the department has made since then.

In the past, VDOT has required contractors to provide equipment, and personnel, and work around the clock.

“Now, we’re looking at only asking contractors to work in 12-hour shifts. That opens it up for more contractors to be able to bid,” said Bond. “We’ve also looked at improving our hourly rates, both the hourly rate they get paid and their mobilization rates.”

Lastly, they hired equipment to increase their own. As of mid-October, the department had more than 6,800 pieces of equipment between state forces and contracted workers.

“Just bring CDL operators as part of a contract. So, then we can match them with equipment,” explained Bond.

Because of the increased amount of equipment, snowplow trains will be used more often in the interstates.

“A snowplow train is a group of snowplows working together in a stagger formation to plow multiple lanes of the interstate in one pass,” added Bond.

This will allow for the interstates to be cleared faster. However, VDOT wants to remind people that trains will be traveling more slowly, which can cause traffic backups.

“Folks really need to be patient if they encounter one of those snowplow trains and do not attempt to pass it,” said Bond.

Bond says the internal and inter-agency cooperation during crisis events has improved. These changes make them feel confident as we head into the winter season. But they ask everyone to avoid traveling during the snow.