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Virginia Expands Plow Fleet In Preparation For Winter

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VDOT has more than 2,600 vehicles at its disposal in Northern Virginia for the coming winter -- 90 percent are owned and operated by contractors.
Jonathan Wilson
VDOT has more than 2,600 vehicles at its disposal in Northern Virginia for the coming winter -- 90 percent are owned and operated by contractors.

It may be too early for some local residents to start thinking about snow. But Virginia's Department of Transportation can't really afford to wait, especially if it's hoping to head off some of the criticisms it got during last winter's storms.

VDOT administrator Branco Vlacich says the first thing that should make a difference this winter when roads need to be plowed is a bigger fleet.

Last winter the Northern Virginia office had about 2,000 vehicles at its disposal, and this year they've secured 600 more.

"We're still gonna give priority to the major roadways, you know, before we get to the cul-de-sacs," Vlacich says. "But because there's additional trucks, we're gonna get there sooner."

Hundreds of those trucks will be equipped with Automatic Vehicle Locators so the transportation department can more closely monitor what contractors are doing.

State Delegate David Bulova says responding to constituent complaints about snow removal dominated his time last winter. He says he's impressed with the changes the VDOT is making.

"I'm glad that we're doing this ahead of time, and not waiting for snow to fall before thinking about what lessons we needed to have learned," Bulova says.

The transportation department says only about 400 contracted vehicles have the Vehicle Locators so far, but VDOT is giving contractors $1,000 per vehicle to have more installed.

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