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VDot News - March 24


Highway work zones in the Staunton District

The following is a list of highway work that might affect traffic in the Staunton transportation district during the coming weeks. The Staunton district is comprised of 11 counties, Alleghany, Bath , Rockbridge, Augusta, Highland , Rockingham, Shenandoah, Frederick, Page, Warren and Clarke. Work scheduled is subject to change due to inclement weather and material supplies. Motorists are advised to watch for slow-moving tractors during mowing operations. Also, when traveling through a work zone, be alert to periodic changes in traffic patterns and lane closures.

(NEW) _ Indicates a new or revised entry since last week’s report.


Interstate 64

No activity reported.

Interstate 81

* Mile markers 205 to 237 – Northbound and southbound lanes, debris clean up on Wednesday.

* Various locations –Guardrail installation. Alternating lane and shoulder closures both northbound and southbound. Night work - 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Primary Roads

* Route 11 – Bridge, curb and gutter sweeping.

* Route 42 – Bridge, curb and gutter sweeping.

* Route 250 –Trucks entering from Route 636 between Route 637 to Route 358 and from Route 608 between Route 608 to Route 1360.

* Route 250 – Bridge, curb and gutter sweeping.

* Route 252 – Bridge, curb and gutter sweeping.

* Route 254 – Bridge, curb and gutter sweeping.

* Route 256 – Bridge, curb and gutter sweeping.

* Route 256 – At Route 276, grading. Flagger traffic control. Monday to Friday, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

* Route 262 – Debris clean up from I-81 to Route 11 at Verona on Wednesday.

* Route 262 – Bridge, curb and gutter sweeping.

* Route 275 – Bridge, curb and gutter sweeping.

* Route 276 – Bridge, curb and gutter sweeping.

* Route 285 – Bridge, curb and gutter sweeping.

* Route 340 – Bridge, curb and gutter sweeping.

Secondary Roads

* (NEW) Route 612 – Drop inlet cleaning from Route 11 to I-81. One lane transition.

* Route 621 ( Sandy Ridge Road ) – Between Route 823 and Route 611. Work-site truck traffic for sub-division road construction. Work is during daylight hours.

* Route 1319 ( Westminster Drive ) – From Route 1360 and Route 608, for truck traffic sub-division road construction. Work is daylight hours.

* Route 1621 (Beagle Gap Run) – From Wild Cat Cove to Beagle Gap Forest . Trucks entering work for sub-division road construction. Work is daylight hours.

* Various Roads – Bridge and curb and gutter sweeping. Shoulder repairs, patching pot holes, brush cutting, stone application. Scraping dirt roads. Lane closures and flaggers may be used at various locations. Work will be weekdays during daylight hours.


STAUNTON – The Virginia Department of Transportation will be hosting a tree planting event on Wednesday, March 26 at 10 a.m. at the Interstate 81 northbound rest area in Rockingham County near the Shenandoah County line. The public is welcome to attend.

Students from Turner Ashby Future Farmers of America, members of Scenic Virginia and the Virginia Department of Forestry will assist in a ceremonial tree planting event, emphasizing VDOT’s commitment to safety, is environmental stewardship and its regard for the agricultural heritage of the region.

The VDOT Staunton District launched a program last spring to remove trees close to the interstate travel lanes on Interstates 64, 66 and 81. This action enhances safety by removing fixed objects, which can increase serious injury or property damage in the case of accidents.

This spring VDOT continues the second half of this program by planting 2,000 seedlings in safe zones, replacing more than double the amount of trees that were removed in the spring of 2007. The beautification plan is ongoing to plant redbuds and dogwoods outside the clear zone.

The tree removal operation is one of several programs, coordinated along I-81 with a regional citizen safety committee, to improve safety along the interstate system in the Staunton district. Ramp extensions are currently underway in Frederick County and truck climbing lanes are scheduled to be advertised for construction in the fall of 2008. By mid 2007 safety service patrols were established along I-81 in Augusta County and along I-64 in Augusta and Albemarle counties and on portions of I-81 in Frederick, Warren and Shenandoah counties. Currently, at the conclusion of paving projects, older four-inch wide pavement markings are being replaced with six-inch wide highly reflective pavement marking material. At various locations guardrail is being upgraded to new crash standards set by the Federal Highway Administration. Rumble strips along the shoulder are also part of interstate safety improvements.

Garrett Moore, P.E. said, “We are pleased to enhance the safety of our interstate roads by removing trees close to the roadway, which are potential hazards in a crash. At the same time we have this opportunity to add to the long-term beauty of the view shed with the planting of these new seedlings.”


Agency Adopts Aggressive Program to Improve Statewide Emergency Response

RICHMOND—The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has completed its initial review of the Feb. 12 freezing rain storm that resulted in the closure of Northern Virginia’s Springfield Interchange for several hours. Commissioner David S. Ekern delivered the report to the Commonwealth Transportation Board at its March 20 meeting noting a key finding that VDOT must refocus its emergency response mission to prevent similar significant delays from happening again.

“The human impact of a severe weather event or other type of emergency on the economy, quality of life and safety of all Virginians is significant,” said Ekern. “As we review the circumstances that led to the Springfield Interchange closure, the importance of our emergency response mission has become even clearer. We understand that our crews must keep the region’s highways flowing during all weather conditions and emergencies that occur on our roads. It is time we refocus our agency to respond to this important need.”

The event after-action report details key findings about:

· Mobilization of VDOT crews before and during the storm

· Communications improvements needed between emergency response agencies

· Traveler information needs

· Emergency management protocols

· The adoption of industry-leading snow- and ice-removal practices

Commissioner Ekern detailed 16 immediate action steps already implemented in response to the Feb. 12 event to prevent a similar situation from happening again this winter. These steps include:

* Designating a clear chain of command and focusing emergency response activities to the Northern Virginia Traffic Management Center
* Improving communications between VDOT, local, regional and state emergency operations centers, and between emergency response agencies
* Better use of technology and equipment to monitor traffic, report on actual pavement conditions and communicate with motorists about hazards they might encounter on Virginia ’s highways
* Consolidating snow- and ice-removal operations for the Springfield Interchange to one maintenance facility, and better deployment of VDOT equipment to manage winter weather events in the area
* Clearer chain of command and training procedures to ensure efficient delivery of emergency response services for snow, ice and other incidents in Northern Virginia

VDOT will host a meeting for elected officials and the public to offer feedback on the agency’s Feb. 12 response and this after-action report at 6:30 p.m. on April 22. The meeting will be held at the Waterford at Springfield , 6715 Commerce Street , Springfield , VA.

“In the coming weeks and months, we will work with experts in emergency response and with our neighbors in D.C. and Maryland to ensure we understand all of the factors that led to this event,” Ekern said. “We will use this information to strengthen our statewide snow and ice response and to ensure that drivers in every part of the commonwealth receive consistent and dependable response from this agency.”

By April 15, VDOT will define a program to improve VDOT’s emergency response protocols and practices. This will result in better service to Virginia ’s drivers and quicker clearance of natural and man-made traffic snarls.

“This incident serves as a clear reminder that our commitment to plan, operate and maintain a safe Virginia transportation system is founded on our ability to keep traffic moving during emergency situations,” Ekern said. “We must recognize that our customers demand safe, efficient access to our highway systems 24/7 and deliver on that expectation.”

To review the interim after-action report for the Feb. 12 storm and to learn more about VDOT’s emergency response activities, visit



5th annual contest awards of $1,000 to seven college winners

RICHMOND – The Virginia Transportation Conference has announced the call for papers for its fifth student paper contest. Undergraduate and graduate students at Virginia colleges and universities are invited to submit original papers that will compete for a $1,000 prize for each winner.

Students can choose to write on a topic from one of seven transportation-related categories: mobility, safety, applied technology, structures and materials, policy, freight or passenger rail, or intermodal issues. One paper from each category will be selected as a winner.

The papers will be judged by a panel of experts from the Virginia Transportation Research Council – the research arm of the Virginia Department of Transportation – the Virginia Transportation Policy Group at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, and the Virginia Rail Policy Institute.

Awards will be given based on the papers’ relevance, insight and significance, and quality of research and content. Winning students will be notified on September 15, 2008.

Students may submit papers previously written for class projects, conferences or journals, as long as the student was the primary author and any published paper has written permission for use in the contest. The paper also must be based on work completed from a course or study requirement at the undergraduate or graduate level.

The submitted papers must be postmarked no later than Tuesday, June 10, 2008, and paper topics must be approved in advance by Ray Pethtel, Virginia Tech’s Transportation Fellow. Interested students should send their proposed paper’s title and a one-paragraph abstract describing the subject to Pethtel by e-mail at

The annual Virginia Transportation Conference has been held for more than 55 years for local, state and regional government officials and transportation industry representatives to learn about the latest transportation issues, research and initiatives. The student papers and awards normally are presented at the conference. While the 2008 conference has been cancelled in an effort to reduce state spending, its annual student paper competition will continue.

For additional details and criteria about the student paper contest, go to the Virginia Transportation Conference’s Web site at Information on the 2007 student paper winners is available

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