VDOT prepped for winter weather with increased budget

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Winter is coming and the Virginia Department of Transportation said their agency is prepared. This year, the department has a $13.2 million budget for snow removal.

"We've got about 1,400 pieces of equipment this year," said spokesperson Jessica Cowardin.

That includes plows, spreaders, front end loaders and backhoes.

"We have 61,000 tons of salt, 26,000 tons of sand and 300,000 gallons of salt brine," said spokesperson Lindsay LeGrand

Those materials will be restocked as needed. This year's operating budget is about a million more than the budget of fiscal year 2015.

"We've seen higher expenditures over the last couple of years," said LeGrand. "It's been an active snow season for the last few years. So we're just setting aside more money, but of course, we won't sacrifice any services if we do need more money in addition to that."

VDOT said that this year they have added a runoff pond that will save materials, time and money.

"What we're doing, we're mixing it with salt to pump it out into our brine pumps and we're able to put it down on the roads for that pre-treatment before the storm hits," LeGrand said.

VDOT officials recommend that residents also start to prepare.

"Getting those emergency kits ready in your trunk in case you do happen to get stuck in anything," Cowardin said. "Of course, plan ahead, plan ahead and check 511, check your forecast and VDOT sites."