The schedule for the debris cleanup effort along Fredericksburg-area roads following the Jan. 3 winter storm has been revised again and is now expected to extend into the fall.
In its initial estimate, the Virginia Department of Transportation expected contractors to clear more than 300,000 cubic yards of debris along state-maintained roads in the 14-county VDOT district.
In April, the amount of debris was estimated at 1.2 million cubic meters. The total debris count is now expected to be more than double that estimate.
Local VDOT spokesperson Kelly Hannon said in an email that more than 1.8 million cubic meters of tree debris had been cleared along area roads since the storm. VDOT’s new estimate puts the projected total of debris at around 2.5 million cubic meters.
The Jan. 3 storm dumped between 10.8 and 14.6 inches of snow in the Fredericksburg area, according to a state storm response report, which left hundreds of motorists stranded overnight on Interstate 95.
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The snow followed the rain and occurred during a drastic temperature drop. The precipitation froze and caused extensive damage to trees and power lines.
Hannon said all debris along Interstate 95 was cleared by the end of May.
“Pickup along the main roads, which are routes numbered 599 and below, will be completed within the next 2 weeks in Stafford and Spotsylvania counties,” she said.
Debris removal along major highways in Caroline, King George and Westmoreland counties is expected to continue through July. The same schedule is provided for secondary roads in all localities. Contractor crews are responsible for clearing debris from more than 840 secondary roads.
The working agreement calls for crews to clean up identified debris “immediately after the storm,” Hannon noted. Part of this ongoing cleanup includes clearing large limbs and other debris pushed onto shoulders and onto state right-of-way areas along highways during and immediately after the storm for snow plows and trucks handling the roads.
Not all went well in the cleanup effort, at least for some crews.
“The VDOT informed the debris removal contractor of the security breaches and debris removal that were unrelated to the storm damage. The VDOT verified that the contractor had taken appropriate action in each case, which meant pulling the teams out of the project.”
The contract for the contractor’s clean-up work ends July 30, with an estimated cost of $25.2 million, which will increase before the work is complete.
After that, VDOT crews will begin clearing debris “during the summer and fall along low-volume secondary roads, in balance with their routine maintenance activities,” Hannon said.
Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436