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Vdot news - May 19


STAUNTON – The Virginia Department of Transportation will close a portion of Route 696 in Mount Sidney in Augusta County for a road reconstruction project. The closure will begin on June 2 and is anticipated to last until August 15. The construction work will be located approximately a half mile west of Route 11 to Route 11.

Motorists are advised to use Route 626 and Route 748 for a detour.

Citizens with questions on the closure may contact the VDOT Verona Residency Office at (540) 332-8989.


Deadline for submitting comments is June 15

RICHMOND – Citizens may submit comments through June 15 on modifications to traffic impact analysis regulations that improve the coordination between transportation and land-use planning throughout the Commonwealth. The original regulations were the result of legislation championed by Governor Timothy M. Kaine and unanimously approved by the 2006 General Assembly.

The proposed amended regulations, summary of the proposed changes and reasons for them, and ways to submit comments are available at

The original regulations took effect July 1, 2007. They are being implemented throughout Virginia in phases over 18 months.

Virginia Department of Transportation Commissioner David S. Ekern established a technical committee of local government, private sector and VDOT representatives to review the regulations, implementation process and feedback received since spring 2007. The proposed modifications to the regulations are based on recommendations from the committee.

Final modifications will be recommended to Governor Kaine after June 15. If approved, the final amended regulations would take effect June 30, 2008.

“We received excellent feedback during information sessions with local officials, developers, contractors and staff, and as we gained experience working with the regulations,” said Richard L. Caywood, VDOT’s Salem District administrator and chair of the technical committee. “The recommended modifications are based that feedback and experience, and they improve the regulations.”

For example, one proposed change clarifies that VDOT has the authority to accept traffic impact statements or studies prepared for rezonings that were approved by VDOT and the local governing body prior to the effective date of the regulations. VDOT may also allow such studies to be updated to conform more closely to the new regulations.

The regulations establish uniform statewide standards to ensure that a traffic impact analysis is performed when land-use decisions with potentially significant impacts on the state-controlled transportation network are being considered by local governments. They also formalize VDOT’s role in working with localities to analyze regional traffic impacts as local officials consider proposed comprehensive plans, rezonings and site plans.

The regulations were developed with significant input from an advisory committee comprised of representatives from local governments, the development community and other stakeholder groups. Public comments were solicited through the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall and public hearings. VDOT also held a peer review with other states in which similar reviews are performed.


Lane Markings Will Have Increased Visibility

STAUNTON – The Virginia Department of Transportation will be installing snow-plowable markers at several locations within the Staunton and Culpeper districts. The project is to replace aging marker lens at various locations as well as place markers for the first time on several roadways. The work will begin May 19 with a completion date of October 1, 2008. All work is weather permitting.

Roads receiving new markers were identified based on traffic volumes, accident history, fog conditions, mountainous terrain and requests from the public. The new markers will be placed at the following locations:

Frederick County

Route 522

Clarke County

Route 340

Augusta County

Route 254

Route 608

Route 612

Route 654

Highland County

Route 250 at Bullpasture Mountain

Rockingham County

Route 11

Route 33

Route 42

Route 259

Roads receiving lens replacements were selected base on age of the existing lens, with an average replacement age of three to four years. Lens replacement will be done at the following locations:

Albemarle County

Route 53

Route 250

Alleghany County

Interstate 64

Augusta County

Interstate 64

Bath County

Route 39 on mountain

Rockingham County

Interstate 81

Shenandoah County

Interstate 81

Warren County

Interstate 66

Route 638

Snow-plowable markers enhance visibility of pavement markings during night and wet conditions and can help reduce crashes.


Issues Long-Term Emergency Response Improvement Plan

RICHMOND — Following snow-and-ice incidents and interstate crashes that choked highways for hours in recent months, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has released its long-term action plan to improve emergency response. The report, shared with the Commonwealth Transportation Board at its meeting today, outlines 13 action steps to refocus VDOT on its vital role as an emergency response agency.

“Today we commit to the citizens of Virginia that we will live up to their expectations that VDOT, like fire departments and law-enforcement agencies, will provide critical emergency services during all unforeseen events,” said Commissioner David S. Ekern. “Our core mission includes keeping Virginians safe during inclement weather and other emergency events, and we will deliver on that responsibility.”

Following a Feb. 12 ice storm that effectively shut down Northern Virginia ’s Springfield Interchange for nine hours, VDOT is working to review its entire emergency response program to identify organizational hurdles, policy roadblocks, equipment shortfalls and training challenges that hindered its ability to swiftly respond to emergency events. The long-term action plan released today was developed with input from transportation professionals, law-enforcement and EMS agencies, neighboring jurisdictions and the public.

The action items address:

* Improving communications capabilities within VDOT and between emergency response agencies
* Remodeling, renewing and relocating emergency response equipment to be more effective
* Establishing the first-of-its-kind emergency response institute to train transportation crews in emergency procedures
* Adopting industry best practices for emergency response and snow-and-ice removal
* Expanding VDOT’s five regional traffic management centers into transportation operations centers that function as emergency response hubs
* Breaking down geographic barriers to emergency response with consistent statewide efforts focused on the 23,000 miles of critical highways
* Improving technology and traveler information to keep motorists informed about changing traffic conditions and emergency events while they are on the road and at home
* Overcoming administrative barriers that hinder field operations and emergency response activities

Implementing the action items in this plan will result in:

· Improved communications with the public

· Institutionalizing the National Incident Management System practices

· Adoption of industry best practices

· Implementation of training to support VDOT’s emergency response professionals

· Improved coordination with local, state and federal agencies involved in incident response

“This effort will not come without a cost,” Ekern told the Commonwealth Transportation Board. “However, this is a commitment worth making because it will significantly improve the safety of every Virginian traveling on our transportation network and will protect the quality of life throughout the commonwealth for years to come.”

To learn more about how VDOT responds to emergencies, and to read the plan in its entirety, visit


STAUNTON – Traffic signal timing coordination for 21 signals on four major highways in the Winchester and Frederick County area is complete thanks to a new program from the Virginia Department of Transportation, focused on system operations.. Work on the signals was done at the following locations:

* Route 7 – Signals at both Interstate 81 ramps, Getty Lane , Regency Lakes Drive , Millbrook Road , Greenwood Road and Woods Mill Road .

* Route 11 south at Route 37 – Signals at Shawnee Drive, Apple Valley Road, Hood Way and Commonwealth Court.

* Route 50 west of Winchester – Signals at both Route 37 ramps, Ward, and Round Hill.

* Route 50/522/17 – Signals at Frontage Road, both I-81 ramps. On Route 50 at Tulane Drive , Prince Frederick Drive . On Route 522 at Delco Plaza and Costello Drive .

The signal work cost approximately $120,000 for all four highway corridors. The work is part of the traffic signal optimization initiative under the System Operations program. Optimizing signal timing can improve traffic flow, reduce the risk of rear-end collisions, cause fewer emissions and contribute to fuel savings to the motorist. These benefits will be the result of fewer traffic stops while traveling through the coordinated corridors.

Motorists will experience at 5 to 15 percent improvement in travel time and up to 30 percent reduction in vehicle stops yielding a 5 to 15 reduction in emissions and fuel consumption along the coordinated corridor.

These improvements will also make it quicker and safer for emergency services to respond to calls.

VDOT partnered with the City of Winchester to complete this work with their consultant team of Sabra, Wang and Associates and Whitman Renquert and Associates. Work on the project began in November 2007 and was completed on April 30.

Highway safety is everyone’s responsibility. Virginia’s highway safety partnership — the Virginia Department of Transportation, Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and Virginia State Police — challenges you to help prevent highway fatalities. Buckle up. Avoid distractions. Share the road. Drive drug- and alcohol-free. Obey speed limits. For more information on the Highway Safety Challenge and things you can do to avoid becoming Virginia ’s next traffic fatality, visit

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