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Falls Church Roads 'May Not See Significant Relief Until Weekend'

Temperatures will rise this weekend, helping to thaw out ice and snow on roadways.

A snowy roadway in Falls Church; archive photo courtesy of NOAA
A snowy roadway in Falls Church; archive photo courtesy of NOAA
The City of Falls Church is assessing its roadways after the severe winter storm that hit the area earlier this week. Students are back in school Wednesday after missing school Monday and Tuesday due to the snow and ice on the roads.

Here's what the City had to say Wednesday about its snow and ice-clearing efforts the past few days and looking ahead the rest of the week:

"The snow storm on Sunday/Monday brought unique challenges to our crews and equipment, and continuous freezing temperatures aren't helping in the recovery. Until the thaw begins on Friday, drivers and pedestrians may not see bare pavement, despite our best efforts to clear the streets. Here's why:
  • Rain on Sunday, rapidly dropping temperatures throughout, and a high rate of snow fall made this a tough storm to get ahead of. 

  • The continuously dropping temperatures, accumulating snow, and traffic generated significant "ice pack," which is difficult to plow. 

  • Clearing ice pack in frigid temperatures requires a focused strategy of heavy treatment, allowing time for chemicals to react, and skillful plowing – this type of deliberate treatment is slow work. 

  • The frigid temperatures and moisture also lead the chemicals to bind up in the spreader boxes and requires frequent maintenance and thawing of the boxes, further slowing the work.
The City began the storm with about 200 tons of salt and now has about 45 tons on hand. We have been working hard to conserve our supplies (for environmental and economic reasons) as agencies across the nation are struggling to find materials. Our snow clearing crew consists of 12 drivers, 4 shop mechanics, and a small administrative support crew. They have been working since midnight Sunday/Monday and will continue through the week, focusing on roads, intersections, and sidewalks. However, we may not see significant relief until the weekend when temperatures rise. 

Please use caution on roads and sidewalks. Stay inside if possible; leaving the roads clear makes it easier for our crews to plow and treat. If you need help shoveling, contact the Rec and Parks Department for their Teen List, 703-248-5027.

Thank you for your patience as we continue to recover from the storm. Please be safe."

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