VDOT crews, nearly done with clearing roads, turn attention to gravel roads

Crews use special treatment for gravel roads

TROUTVILLE, Va. – While Mother Nature does its part to clear out the snow, VDOT crews are speeding the process along, making their final passes to clear off roads.

Crews always start with primary roads, then go to secondary roads, and Tuesday, they turned their attention to gravel roads. Gravel roads are the crews' last priority, but they are no less important. 

"A lot of people live on them," said Roy Bryant, superintendent for VDOT’s Troutville-area headquarters.

Bryant's crew is responsible for 750 miles of road in the southern part of Botetourt County. About 15 of those miles are gravel.

"They’re all scattered out. They're way back in our rural areas," Bryant said.

Almost all of those gravel roads are in steep, mountainous areas, making travel in the snow and ice even more dangerous. However, crews can't use the standard salt treatment on gravel roads. Instead, they use what they call crusher run.

"Stone with a mix of liquid calcium. That helps break up any tight ice spots, creates the slush, then it melts away and the road is fine," Bryant said.

10 News rode with VDOT operator Travis Slusser as he worked to clear gravel roads. Crews plowed the snow there Monday, but a lot of ice was left behind.

"Hopefully get a good coating on it to where it'll melt," Slusser said.

While driving the dicey roads, Slusser is constantly making adjustments based on how wide the road is and how much ice he sees.

"I’m applying it pretty heavy because I do see a lot of frozen, slick spots here," Slusser said.

It’s the last step in clearing our roads to keep drivers safe.

VDOT considers clean-up from this storm to be a success, thanks to extra crews, warmer temperatures since the storm and minimal traffic on the roads during the storm.