VDOT and first responders help keep the roads safe

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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- On Wednesday, a Virginia Department of Transportation official said they have more then plenty of supplies to keep the roads safe in the aftermath of snowfall.

"District wide, we have over 60,000 tons of salt," said Will Merritt, the VDOT communications coordinator. "Right now we're at about 75 percent capacity, so we're in very good shape for our supplies."

VDOT has nine districts in Virginia. Within the Culpepper District, there are 23 salt facilities. The one in Albemarle County holds more than 6,000 tons of salt.

Crews use a mixture of salt and sand on the roads. The sand helps to provide traction and the salt melts away ice that might have formed.

"VDOT crews have worked around the clock in 12-hour shifts since late yesterday," Merritt said. "Our crews began treating our roads with sand and salt and began plowing once the snow accumulated to two inches."

That attention to the roadways has been important. First responders at Albemarle County Fire Rescue said their emergency calls on Wednesday haven't been much higher than usual.

"We've been kind of lucky that the snow came in overnight," said Battalion Chief Phillip Burkett. "The traffic on the roads has been a lot lighter than the typical commutes in the mornings."

"The response today has been normal," added Master Firefighter Donovan Foss. "We've had a couple of extra incidents that we normally don't have, but we have upstaffed multiple four real vehicles at the stations, so nothing's that's put us at a stress level."

However, VDOT officials want you to remember that it's when the sun isn't up, you could be most at risk. On Wednesday, Virginia State Police troopers reported they responded to more than 250 crashes between midnight and 7 a.m.

"The fire department did respond by upstaffing certain units for a 24-hour operational period so we could have more personnel on the street to respond to emergencies," said Burkett.

Both first responders and VDOT said they will be ready when night falls, to keep you safe.

"VDOT will still be on duty," said Merritt. "We will continue to treat roads with both sand and salt. We do want motorists though to use extra caution once the sun drops, because there is the chance for any moisture on the road, even if it's just water to refreeze into black ice."

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