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Snowzilla Review
and Lessons Learned
January 22-29, 2016
March 1, 2016
Branco Vlacich
Northern Virginia District Maintenan...
2
• VDOT Roads and Resources
• How Subdivisions are Assigned and Plowed
• Mobilization for Snowzilla
• Frequently Asked Qu...
3
VDOT in Northern Virginia
Fairfax, Prince William, Loudoun, and Arlington counties
(Arlington maintains own secondary ro...
5
VDOT Roads – Northern Virginia
Crews work interstates, major roads and
main roads in subdivisions concurrently.
Intersta...
7
Subdivisions are divided into 650 snow maps (350 in Fairfax)
Updated annually to ensure all state-maintained roads are i...
One of 650 snow maps assigned to plow drivers. Hot spots are identified by
superintendents and added annually.
Neighborhoo...
9
Subdivisions and low-volume roads
• Goal: Reach the most residents as quickly as possible
• One pass for a typical storm...
12
Completing Subdivisions
• Monitors: VDOT staff drive routes for quality control
• Maps are considered complete when a d...
13
Planning and Mobilizing for Snowzilla
• Forecast review with National Weather Service and Iteris
(VDOT on-call service)...
Mobilization Levels
16
Snowzilla Resources Deployed
Of 4,500 pieces of equipment & trucks:
• 97 percent are contracted (including operators)
•...
17
20
Snowzilla by Comparison
January 22-24, 2016 snowfall
•30-40 inches of snow
•4,500 pieces of equipment
•Path in most sub...
Frequently Asked Questions
about snow removal
23
Anti-icing?
VDOT activates a plan about 72 hours before an event
(and when favorable conditions exist) based on
weather fo...
Trucks leaving, driving with plow up?
Trucks may be patrolling the route, heading to an
emergency, another location, or re...
Neighborhood standards in large storms?
Crews work to help the most people as quickly as
possible. The passable path provi...
28
Driveways, sidewalks and trails?
Crews try to be mindful of blocking, but in a massive
snowfall there is very little room ...
Trucks on vdotplows.org
If not refreshing, try clearing cache, restarting.
Heavy construction equipment and trucks from ot...
Automatic vehicle locator equipment tracks trucks on vdotplows.org.
32
Opportunities for Improvement
(from After-Action Reviews)
Improving contract management
• Oversight, accountability, an...
33
• Custom county forecasts through contract with Iteris
• Implemented detailed mobilization plans
• Number and type of e...
34
What Worked Well
• Co-location with emergency responders
• Early mobilization, staging at critical locations, subdivisi...
38
What Helped
• Forecast with ample notice
• Federal government, schools closed
• Public stayed off the roads
• Messages ...
40
Info Resources
News media
• Round-the-clock interviews, updates from VDOT
• 300+ media inquiries during blizzard
Social...
41
Customer Service Center
800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623) or www.virginiadot.org
(select ‘Report a Road Problem’)
•Staff answ...
42
Post-Storm Activities
Potholes
•Crews have filled 10,000+ potholes since Jan. 1
•Using “Pothole Killers” as well as tra...
43
THANK YOU!
We welcome your comments, questions and
suggestions.
VDOT - Snowzilla Review and Lessons Learned: Jan 22-29, 2016
VDOT - Snowzilla Review and Lessons Learned: Jan 22-29, 2016
VDOT - Snowzilla Review and Lessons Learned: Jan 22-29, 2016
VDOT - Snowzilla Review and Lessons Learned: Jan 22-29, 2016
VDOT - Snowzilla Review and Lessons Learned: Jan 22-29, 2016
VDOT - Snowzilla Review and Lessons Learned: Jan 22-29, 2016
VDOT - Snowzilla Review and Lessons Learned: Jan 22-29, 2016
VDOT - Snowzilla Review and Lessons Learned: Jan 22-29, 2016
VDOT - Snowzilla Review and Lessons Learned: Jan 22-29, 2016
VDOT - Snowzilla Review and Lessons Learned: Jan 22-29, 2016
VDOT - Snowzilla Review and Lessons Learned: Jan 22-29, 2016
VDOT - Snowzilla Review and Lessons Learned: Jan 22-29, 2016
VDOT - Snowzilla Review and Lessons Learned: Jan 22-29, 2016
VDOT - Snowzilla Review and Lessons Learned: Jan 22-29, 2016
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VDOT - Snowzilla Review and Lessons Learned: Jan 22-29, 2016

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VDOT - Snowzilla Review and Lessons Learned: Jan 22-29, 2016

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VDOT - Snowzilla Review and Lessons Learned: Jan 22-29, 2016

  1. 1. Snowzilla Review and Lessons Learned January 22-29, 2016 March 1, 2016 Branco Vlacich Northern Virginia District Maintenance Engineer
  2. 2. 2 • VDOT Roads and Resources • How Subdivisions are Assigned and Plowed • Mobilization for Snowzilla • Frequently Asked Questions • Lessons Learned • Info Resources • Questions? Agenda
  3. 3. 3 VDOT in Northern Virginia Fairfax, Prince William, Loudoun, and Arlington counties (Arlington maintains own secondary roads) Total lane miles: 13,016 (4,800 lane miles Fairfax County) Interstate: 726 lane miles (Includes Express Lanes) Primary: 1,729 lane miles Secondary: 10,561 lane miles (318 miles gravel roads) (16,000 neighborhood streets) 24 commuter lots
  4. 4. 5 VDOT Roads – Northern Virginia Crews work interstates, major roads and main roads in subdivisions concurrently. Interstates 66/95/395/495 made passable, then bare pavement High-volume routes (1, 7, 28, 50, etc.) made passable, then bare pavement Subdivisions (Main roads) made passable, then remaining streets and cul-de- sacs. Additional priorities: •Shoulders •Moving snow where there is no storage (I-95/395 HOV, construction areas) •12,000 park-and-ride spaces along I-95, I-66
  5. 5. 7 Subdivisions are divided into 650 snow maps (350 in Fairfax) Updated annually to ensure all state-maintained roads are included. How subdivisions are assigned and plowed • Plows staged in subdivisions when 2”+ forecasted • Plowing begins with 2” of snow on the ground • Main thoroughfares are priority and plowed repeatedly in storm • Crews then work streets, cul-de-sacs Drivers: • Assigned up to five maps each • Report back after at least one pass on each road
  6. 6. One of 650 snow maps assigned to plow drivers. Hot spots are identified by superintendents and added annually. Neighborhood Snow Maps
  7. 7. 9 Subdivisions and low-volume roads • Goal: Reach the most residents as quickly as possible • One pass for a typical storm; major storms require multiple passes and heavy equipment • Hills, curves, intersections sanded for traction • Driveways, sidewalks, trails, hydrants: drivers asked to be mindful but blocking is often an unintended consequence. What does “passable” mean? An 8- to 10-foot path cleared for emergency vehicle access, and drivable with extreme caution. The road remains snow-packed and rutted. The path will not be curb-to-curb or bare pavement.
  8. 8. 12 Completing Subdivisions • Monitors: VDOT staff drive routes for quality control • Maps are considered complete when a driver reports to area headquarters and monitors have spot-checked • Once subdivisions are passable, the call center logs inquiries for the field to revisit • AVL Plow tracking site can help verify that passes were made; provides data for inquiries
  9. 9. 13 Planning and Mobilizing for Snowzilla • Forecast review with National Weather Service and Iteris (VDOT on-call service) • Region-wide call to discuss mobilization plans • Anti-icing critical locations Thursday and Friday • 18 maintenance offices (9 in Fairfax, 4 each in Prince William and Loudoun, 1 in Arlington) • Began Thursday, Jan. 21 at 7 p.m. (18 hours in advance) • Contracted trucks with plows and spreaders loaded, staged • Incident command activated on Friday, Jan. 22 at 1 p.m. • Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL) system activated
  10. 10. Mobilization Levels
  11. 11. 16 Snowzilla Resources Deployed Of 4,500 pieces of equipment & trucks: • 97 percent are contracted (including operators) • 4,000 trucks with AVL • 2,300 small pickups, typically used in subdivisions, can push 10-12 inches of snow • Larger trucks on interstates and main roads • Additional 500 pieces of construction equipment (front loaders, motor graders) and crews • Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia • Redeployed from five other VDOT districts
  12. 12. 17
  13. 13. 20 Snowzilla by Comparison January 22-24, 2016 snowfall •30-40 inches of snow •4,500 pieces of equipment •Path in most subdivisions by fourth day after storm’s end (by Wednesday, 1/27 at 6 a.m.) Historic 2010 storms •More than 45 inches of snow (back-to-back snowfalls) •2,200 pieces of equipment: 200 heavy machinery, 300 out-of- state and other sources •7-10 days of clearing Blizzard of 1996 •38 inches of snow •960 pieces of equipment •Around two weeks of clearing
  14. 14. Frequently Asked Questions about snow removal 23
  15. 15. Anti-icing? VDOT activates a plan about 72 hours before an event (and when favorable conditions exist) based on weather forecasts. It takes up to three days to anti-ice the main roads. Trucks idling/staging? Trucks are pre-deployed. It can take up to 24 hours to mount, load, and stage trucks. Drivers also idle to stay warm. 24
  16. 16. Trucks leaving, driving with plow up? Trucks may be patrolling the route, heading to an emergency, another location, or refueling. They may leave their area for fuel, sleep, bathroom breaks, equipment issues, or shift change. Plowing and cul-de-sacs? Main lines in neighborhoods need to be clear and kept clear for emergency vehicles. Local streets and cul-de-sacs are then cleared. Other factors affecting plow operations: Obstructions, traffic, emergencies, breakdowns, etc. 25
  17. 17. Neighborhood standards in large storms? Crews work to help the most people as quickly as possible. The passable path provides access to firetrucks/emergency vehicles, and residents, with extreme caution. If/when crews widen the path, it further blocks vehicles, driveways, sidewalks, mailboxes, etc. There is very little room available as to where to place snow in big storms. Hauling increases the operation from days to weeks. 27
  18. 18. 28
  19. 19. Driveways, sidewalks and trails? Crews try to be mindful of blocking, but in a massive snowfall there is very little room to place snow. Missed streets? It takes typically 48 hours after snow ends to clear most streets of 6 inches of snow. Expect closer to 72+ hours for major storms. Streets are often not missed but drivers have not gotten to them yet. AVL verification is an option. 29
  20. 20. Trucks on vdotplows.org If not refreshing, try clearing cache, restarting. Heavy construction equipment and trucks from other districts used for large storms do not have AVL to show on the AVL site. Delays getting through by phone The call center experienced bandwidth issues from the statewide storm, and is working on resolution. VDOT asks residents to wait 48 hours (72 hours in a major storm) to report roads as missed, to give crews time to complete their maps. 30
  21. 21. Automatic vehicle locator equipment tracks trucks on vdotplows.org.
  22. 22. 32 Opportunities for Improvement (from After-Action Reviews) Improving contract management • Oversight, accountability, and training, including monitoring of progress • Improving automatic vehicle locator (AVL) technology • Details of status/progress of operations Communication • Customer Service Center bandwidth • What residents can expect in very large storms • Explore ways to gather and share timely and accurate information on status/progress of operations
  23. 23. 33 • Custom county forecasts through contract with Iteris • Implemented detailed mobilization plans • Number and type of equipment based on forecast • Anti-icing critical locations and pre-deploying equipment • Incident command at MPSTOC • 24/7 area command structure with duty officers, leadership • Situational awareness • Increased coordination with Police, Fire and Rescue, Maryland and DC, Office of Personnel Management, etc. • Co-location of the Customer Service Center at MPSTOC Program Improvements in Recent Years
  24. 24. 34 What Worked Well • Co-location with emergency responders • Early mobilization, staging at critical locations, subdivisions • Clearing interstates and high-volume roads • Most subdivision paths “passable” within four days of a historic storm’s end • Planning ahead for additional crews and equipment • Morale and dedication: Drivers, mechanics, monitors, call takers, office support and others mobilized more than 240 hours.
  25. 25. 38 What Helped • Forecast with ample notice • Federal government, schools closed • Public stayed off the roads • Messages amplified by news media, localities, other agencies • Partnership with Fire and Rescue, Virginia State and County Police, utility companies and other agencies • No major power losses, very few downed trees
  26. 26. 40 Info Resources News media • Round-the-clock interviews, updates from VDOT • 300+ media inquiries during blizzard Social Media • Northern Virginia Twitter: @vadotnova • 1.07 million “impressions” during blizzard www.vdotplows.org • Shows location of trucks with AVL; whether a map is not yet started, is in progress, or complete • 282,000 hits during blizzard 511virginia.org • Website, mobile app or call 511 for road conditions, traffic cameras
  27. 27. 41 Customer Service Center 800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623) or www.virginiadot.org (select ‘Report a Road Problem’) •Staff answer 24/7 and log requests •135 calls on a non-snow day; 300 calls a day in a typical 6- inch storm; 2010 storms: 34,000 calls; Snowzilla: 10,000 calls and 282,000 visits to vdotplows.org
  28. 28. 42 Post-Storm Activities Potholes •Crews have filled 10,000+ potholes since Jan. 1 •Using “Pothole Killers” as well as traditional methods •Report locations at www.virginiadot.org or 800-367-7623
  29. 29. 43 THANK YOU! We welcome your comments, questions and suggestions.

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