SUFFOLK -- As the East Coast prepares for Hurricane Sandy, crews with the Virginia Department of Transportation say they are ready.
VDOT is monitoring the weather conditions and is in close communication with the National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center.
The state agency began preparing its crews and facilities for potential hurricane conditions in May, at the onset of the traditional hurricane season.
"While we’ve had a fairly mild summer so far, Hurricane Sandy is a good reminder that hurricane season is here,” said Perry Cogburn, Director of the Transportation Emergency Operations Center.
“At this time, it seems the storm will have an impact on Virginia, and we are monitoring her closely and taking every necessary precaution to make sure that we are well prepared for whatever she might send our way,” said Cogburn.
VDOT’s primary role before, during, and after a hurricane is to ensure that the roadways are safe for travel. Following a hurricane, VDOT crews will work to open any closed roads as quickly and safely as possible.
“We can’t predict the weather, but we are currently making all of the appropriate preparations and we are taking all of the proper precautions,” said Dwayne K. Cook, VDOT Regional Operations Director, Eastern Region.
VDOT worked with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the cities in Hampton Roads to develop facility closure guidelines for all area bridges and tunnels.
The guidelines outline how VDOT will track environmental factors and communicate internally to safely close these facilities should they become dangerous for motorists or threatened by flooding.
“We’re taking this very seriously because we have a responsibility to the citizens of the commonwealth,” said Cook.