Plan now — snowy weekend ahead

photoVDOT Photo

With snow predicted for our region in the coming days, here are a few winter weather reminders from Fairfax County Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) treats and plows most roads in Fairfax County. Before a potential storm, VDOT pre-treats interstates, major roads, bridges, ramps and overpasses with brine and/or liquid magnesium chloride. Brine is simply a mix of 23% salt and 77% water that is sprayed onto the roads and dries to create white “brine lines” on the pavement.

VDOT crews begin plowing when two inches of snow has fallen. Crews prioritize interstate highways, major roads and main subdivision roads.  After a storm ends, VDOT aims to have plowed one passable lane on all roads within the following time frames:

2-4″ of snow: 24 hours
4-6″ of snow: 48 hours
6″ or more: 72 hours

VDOT is responsible for 13,942 miles of road in Northern Virginia, so please be patient as their crews work hard to get to your street.


  • Get where you need to be before the weather gets bad.
  • Monitor weather to stay informed of the latest timing and intensity along your travel routes.
  • Adjust commutes to avoid the worst of the weather until conditions improve.
  • Take it slow on bridges, ramps, overpasses and other known trouble spots.
  • Ensure gas tanks and windshield fluid tanks are full, and take time to update your car’s emergency kit.
  • Watch for pedestrians as sidewalks may not be clear.
  • Give plows plenty of space to work.


  • Police, Fire, Ambulance Emergency: call or text 911
  • Public Safety Non-Emergency: 703-691-2131
  • VDOT: 1-800-367-7623
  • Fairfax County Emergency Information Line: 703-817-7771
  • Washington Gas Emergency Line: 844-927-4427
  • Columbia Gas Emergency Line: 1-800-544-5606
  • Dominion Energy: 1-866-DOM-HELP (1-866-366-4357)
  • Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC): 1-888-335-0500
  • Fairfax Water: 703-698-5613


About the Author

Truman Lewis
A former reporter and bureau chief, Truman Lewis has covered presidential campaigns, state politics and stories ranging from organized crime to environmental and consumer protection.