VDOT Says It Will Continue Clearing Snow From Roads

by Karen Goff January 28, 2016 at 4:30 pm 17 Comments

South lakes at Twin Branches Jan. 28, 2016

Warmer temperatures have contributed to significant melting of the record snow this week, but one problem still plaguing Reston-area roads is narrow access — two-lane roads are now one-lane roads in many spots.

Snowplow piles and lanes that haven’t been plowed are on many roads, making it slow-going or even dangerous on major streets.

Many Reston Now readers pointed out some of the worst trouble spots on Reston Now’s Facebook page this morning:

There are also some roads in which one side only has half a lane (Twin Branches is one of them, I’m sure there are a lot more), with the the right half of the lane completely blocked by snow mounds. Which means if you’re driving in a full lane, you may pass someone going the opposite way who is literally being forced to straddle the yellow lane. Please, people, show some courtesy and move over to the right as far as you can so everyone can move.

The other bad street for me is Soapstone north of Glade. The plowed part starts on the far left moves to the center then back over the left. This leaves you w/o proper lane markings.

Soapstone from Glade to Sunrise Valley. Downright scary yesterday.

It took me 45 minutes to drive 2 miles in Reston at rush hour last night.

The Virginia Department of Transportation says “crews have worked around-the-clock to make all roads in northern Virginia passable post-blizzard, but there is still some clean-up to do.”

By 3 p.m. Thursday, Sunrise Valley Drive, for instance, had been cleared edge-to-edge, but nearby Soapstone Drive still had people driving in the turn lane.

“Crews are working to widen and restore remaining snow-impacted lanes on primary and high-volume secondary roads,” said VDOT spokeswoman Jennifer McCord. “Clearing efforts will continue through the week, using equipment such as front loaders and motor graders to move snow where plows are unable to push.”

VDOT warns drivers to be aware of lanes that have shifted, narrowed, or are blocked due to snow cover, as well as snow patches or drifts on acceleration and turn lanes.

The agency also urges caution about the giant snow piles left by its plows.

“Be aware that signal timing may be impacted by snow-covered turn lanes,” says VDOT. “Signal engineers are monitoring major intersections and adjusting as needed.”

Have an area of concern? Contact VDOT at 1-800-367-ROAD (7623) or on Twitter @VaDOTNOVA.

Reminder: VDOT is responsible for plowing Reston’s major roads but is not responsible for shoveling sidewalks, many of which are still covered in snow. Reston Association is responsible for the trails.

Residential streets are either VDOT or private cluster association (but not Reston Association). Check this map to see who is responsible for your street.

Photo: Traffic backup and snow-impacted lanes at South Lakes Drive and Twin Branches Road Thursday morning.

  • Chestnut Grove Resident

    I’m one of the few people who walk to the Wiehle Metro Station. None of the sidewalks or paths along Wiehle (north of the station) have been touched. In fact, they are piled with huge amounts of snow from the roadways. I know that the priority is clearing things for cars, but I’m concerned that it could be weeks (months?) before these huge mounds melt. Do you know who I can contact to get an ETA on when some action might be taken?

    • Mike M

      Contact Mr. Sun-in-the sky.

      PS: Check out that map. Very sweet!

      • The law of physics

        There are two individuals that are raising totally valid points, in addition to earlier comments posted by me. I think you, by rank, #1 restonnow near real time chat support, would be better served in not patronizing these humble citizen too much. Not everyone can afford living in a nice neighborhood, driving the car to work, and sitting in chat rooms all day long and posting the non sensical. Instead perhaps just thank your producer for being still alive. Thanks

        • Mike M

          I do love the engagement! Thanks to you.

          How I spend my 10-20 minutes a day in a great source of local news and commentary is none of your business.

          My point was just as valid, despite your not deeming it so. They will have to wait until the sun comes out to see sidewalks back to normal.

          Perhaps we can agree that the Metro station was installed well before proper infrastructure resourcing had been considered. Perhaps you supported that. So, the station has been here a year or two and you are already addicted to it for basic survival?

          • The law of physics

            We can green on 5he obvious but perhaps also that reston social engineers don’t give a hoot about pedestrians and cyclists. That sad, all the power to the poor disenfranchised hammer-meet-nail motorist. Smartphone required

        • Chestnut Grove Resident

          If you check Mike M’s comment history, he’s a pretty outspoken advocate for improved pedestrian and cyclist access at the Wiehle Avenue station. I took his comment as a reflection on the current state of affairs, not a dig. I feel like RA and VDOT have dropped the ball no matter what mode of transportation you prefer. Fingers crossed Mr. Sun does double duty this weekend.

          • Is it April Yet?

            Not to pick on you, Chestnut Grove Resident, but so many people keep talking about RA dropping the ball on plowing. RA isn’t responsible for plowing our streets. VDOT plows state streets and cluster contractors plow cluster streets. The map Karen provided a link to shows who’s responsible for every street in Reston. I’m not a big RA fan, and have criticized them in the past, but they aren’t the snow demons here.

            We didn’t see a plow until late Tuesday, and it was really frustrating, but how often do we get this much snow? Like maybe three other times, ever? : )

          • Is April Here Yet?

            Chestnut Grove Res, here’s the part of the map showing your area: Blue = cluster contractor plows. Red = VDOT plows.

          • Chestnut Grove Resident

            My concern is with the uncleared trail along Wiehle, not the street itself. RA signed a deal with Fairfax County to plow this section of the trail (west side of Wiehle) from my condo development, through the TSA area to Sunset Hills. The county (or private interests) haven’t touched the sidewalk on the east side of Wiehle either. As a result, a major corridor for commuters walking to the Wiehle station is impassable. I’ve already seen a number of people walking in the road, after dark. It’s dangerous and embarrassing for a community that claims to value walkability and is working to increase acces for all modes of transportation. Clearly, RA is not there yet.

    • Reston=pedestrian friendly?

      It’s the same on Wiehle south of the station, too. The snow never got cleared and now it’s been trampled into boilerplate ice. Add in the terrible lighting at night and it makes walking impossible for anyone remotely not-able-bodied.

  • Greg

    God save us all if a terrorist attack ever occurs here again. Especially during snow season.

  • John Farrell

    This is the worst effort ever seen in Reston. In 2010 a similar amount of snow fell on a Friday and the main roads around town were back to full function by Tuesday.

    • Tom

      I would have to agree with you. In the past, I’ve given this area the benefit of the doubt when it came to clearing snow, especially from big storms like this but five days after this storm ended, we still only had one lane on most of South Lakes, Sunset Hills and Soapstone. They are catching up this morning but it’s been pretty lame this time around.

      • Robert Mowbray

        Who’s in favor of a state tax increase to pay for more equipment, employees, and contractors.

        • Mike M

          I’m in favor of defunding less useful things to set a fund for contracting.

  • Tom

    “By 3 p.m. Thursday, Sunrise Valley Drive, for instance, had been cleared edge-to-edge, but nearby Soapstone Drive still had people driving in the turn lane.”

    Really? You could have fooled me. I tried turning from Wiehle onto Sunrise Valley Drive last night (Thursday) and when there’s no snow, you can merge right in without having to yield but as of 7 PM Thursday night, one of the lanes on Sunrise (the one you use to merge with the traffic after turning from Wiehle) was still covered in snow, completely unusable.

  • krank

    I walked along the (plowed) path near Hunters Woods Park this morning to catch a FFX Connector Bus and as I approached the intersection of Glade and Reston Pkwy I was met with a 6-7 foot wall of snow created by the VDOT plows last night in clearing the RH turn lane. The bus stop is completely snowed in. I had to climb over it all to then stand in the road to catch the bus. This isn’t safe! Who is responsible for cleaning up the mess that VDOT left behind, them or Reston? Going into the weekend did the traffic really need the RH turn lane at the expense of pedestrian traffic and bus riders?


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