VDOT Richmond District works to clean tree debris

By Zach Armstrong

SOUTH CHESTERFIELD, Va -- The Virginia Department of Transportation Richmond District began a long-term tree debris cleanup Feb. 26 in response to the February freezing rain event. According to a release, the process is expected to last between 60 to 90 days.

Widespread fallen trees and downed power lines resulted from the storm from ice that had weighed heavily on elevated surfaces. Crews worked to allow travel lanes to reopen following the storm by moving tree debris to the roadsides and coordinated with utility companies to remove power lines.

“Our goal is to make one clean sweep through each road that has documented tree debris,” said Richmond District Maintenance Engineer Sean Nelson in a release. “Our teams have made a comprehensive list of areas where roadside tree debris is located, but it’s important to remember that thousands of trees fell during this weather event. We appreciate drivers’ patience during cleanup, and understanding that we are aware of and addressing all tree debris on the roadsides within our rights-of-way.”

The Richmond District of VDOT is currently working through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management to remove tree debris from roadsides under an existing statewide contract.

According to a release, crews began the effort by focusing on the counties most affected by fallen trees during the storm, specifically those south of Dinwiddie. Crews will then address all routes in the Richmond District’s 14 counties until all roadside tree debris has been removed.

The VDOT release also stated that residents should know that “crews have documented the amounts and locations of all roadside tree debris in the district.  Please know that crews are on the way to address tree debris. Hundreds of roads were impacted by the storm and the cleanup process will take time.  New road hazards or questions can be reported to VDOT by calling 800-FORROAD (367-7623) or visiting https://my.vdot.virginia.gov/. Please remember that cities and towns maintain their own roads. Henrico County also maintains its own secondary roads.”