Editorial: Preparation and response minimized impact of winter storm
After the first winter storm of the year (crossing fingers to not have any more), it was clear that a tall task would be at hand in order to have things return to normal. There were a lot of people who are helping to do that.
As I delivered papers last Friday, I saw two of my former students eating lunch. A brief conversation with them revealed they had been on plows for 16 hours to clear roads. It was just one of the many stories that I ended up hearing and thinking about.
For as much criticism Virginia’s Department of Transportation (VDOT) takes from citizens about the conditions of the road, let’s give them credit where its due. They did a wonderful job in preparation of this storm with pretreatment and were working around the clock during and after the storm. After spending one day snowed in, I was able to get back on the road slowly and saw that many of the major highways were clear. Soon, secondary roads followed and before you knew it, most of the roads were ready for travel.
But VDOT employees weren’t the only ones who deserve a little bit of praise. Private contractors cleared business parking lots, county employees took care of government areas, and school leaders made decisions to keep students safe. Sheriff’s officers and emergency responders, as well as Virginia State Police, assisted those who did travel up and down the highways and did a fantastic job with keeping things moving smoothly.
Finally, a big thanks goes to drivers and citizens who heeded warnings not to travel the roads during the snowstorm if they didn’t have to. Because of that wise decision, VDOT was able to clear roads quicker and faster, and accident calls were minimized.
It’s very difficult to stay enclosed during a winter storm as anticipation to get out and do something escalates internally. But by being patient, it allowed for those who didn’t have the option to remain indoors to be able to accomplish their jobs so that we may return to our everyday tasks and lives.