Wednesday, December 30, 2015

VDOT Takes Action To Improve Guardrail Safety On Virginia's Roadways

Guardrail Safety

Crash Test Reports

NCHRP-350 Test 3-30

Description of test 3-30 according to NCHRP Report 350:
This test is conducted with the vehicle approaching parallel to the roadway, with impact to the right of the vehicle’s centerline. It is intended primarily to evaluate occupant risk and vehicle trajectory criteria. The vehicle should be offset to the most critical side, that is, the side which will result in the greatest occupant risk during and subsequent to impact, recognizing the direction the vehicle will tend to roll, pitch, and yaw after the impact. The impact is to the right of the vehicle’s centerline; the vehicle will tend to rotate clockwise (as viewed from above).

NCHRP-350 Test 3-31

Description of test 3-31 according to NCHRP Report 350:
This test is conducted with the vehicle (pickup truck) approaching parallel to the roadway with impact at the vehicle’s centerline. For a device designed to decelerate a vehicle to a stop, these tests are intended to evaluate the capacity of the device to absorb the kinetic energy of the 2000 kg vehicle in a safe manner.

NCHRP-350 Tests 3-32 and 3-33

Description of tests 3-32 and 3-33 according to NCHRP Report 350:
Tests 3-32 and 3-33 examine the terminal device when it is impacted at an angle (15°) by a vehicle (small car or pickup truck, respectively) and are intended primarily to evaluate occupant risk and vehicle trajectory criteria.

NCHRP-350 Tests 3-32 and 3-33 (modified to five degrees)

Description of tests 3-32 and 3-33 (modified to 5°) according to NCHRP Report 350:
Tests 3-32 and 3-33 (modified to 5°) examine the terminal device when it is impacted at an angle by a vehicle (small car or pickup truck, respectively) and are intended primarily to evaluate occupant risk and vehicle trajectory criteria.
Information that has come to light in recent years, since the development of NCHRP 350, suggests that a low impact angle of 5° may reflect a critical impact condition that warrants evaluation. While the standard test matrix for the NCHRP 350 test protocol does not explicitly include a test at the 5° angle, that protocol does state, “It is not possible to anticipate the form that new designs will take nor the critical impact conditions of these new designs. As such, the test matrices presented in this section must not be viewed as all-inclusive. When appropriate, the responsible agency should devise other critical test conditions consistent with the range of expected impact conditions.”

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

VDOT Urges Motorists To Plan Ahead For Holiday Travel

RICHMOND, Va. – Online tools from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) allow you to stay up to date on traffic conditions and can make travel easier during the year-end holidays. 
“The Christmas and New Year’s holidays are busy times for travel each year,” said VDOT Commissioner Charlie Kilpatrick. “Motorists should plan ahead, drive safely and take a break when needed to ensure they reach their destination safely to enjoy the holiday.” 
You can find real-time information about traffic, incidents and road conditions on Virginia roads with VDOT’s 511 system. Visit, download VDOT’s free 511 app, or dial 5-1-1 from any phone in Virginia. To report a road problem or get answers to your transportation questions, call VDOT’s Customer Service Centerat 800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623) around the clock.

VDOT will suspend most highway work zones during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays to limit congestion and provide as many travel lanes as possible. 
VDOT will lift lane closures on interstates and other major roads in Virginia during the following dates and times: 
  • Noon, Thursday, Dec. 24, to noon, Monday, Dec. 28, and
  • Noon, Thursday, Dec. 31, to noon, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016.
  • Thursday, Dec. 24 − Normal HOV restrictions are in effect. Interstate 95 and Interstate 395 reversible lanes will be northbound until 10 a.m. They will reopen southbound by noon.
  • Friday, Dec. 25 − HOV restrictions on Interstate 66 and I-395 are lifted. I-95/395 reversible lanes will be southbound all day.
  • Saturday, Dec. 26 – I-95/395 reversible lanes will be southbound until 2 p.m. They will reopen northbound by 4 p.m.
  • Thursday, Dec. 31 − Normal HOV restrictions are in effect. I-95/395 reversible lanes will be northbound until 10 a.m. They will reopen southbound by noon.
  • Friday, Jan. 1− HOV restrictions on I-66 and I-395 are lifted. I-95/395 reversible lanes will be southbound all day.
  • Saturday, Jan. 2 – I-95/395 reversible lanes will be southbound until 2 p.m. They will reopen northbound by 4 p.m.
More information on Northern Virginia HOV schedules can be found at For information on the I-95 and Interstate 495 express lanes, visit Drivers need either an E-ZPass Flex (for HOV-3 to ride toll-free) or an E-ZPass to use the express lanes at all times. 
  • Interstate 64/Interstate 264/Interstate 564 HOV diamond lanes – HOV restrictions will be lifted on all HOV diamond lanes on Friday, Dec. 25, and Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.
  • I-64 reversible lanes − Lanes will operate on the regular schedule with no HOV restrictions on Friday, Dec. 25 and Friday, Jan. 1.
I-64 Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) – Motorists traveling to Virginia Beach are encouraged to use the Interstate 664 Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel (MMMBT) as an alternative to the HRBT. To Virginia Beach, take I-664 south to the MMMBT. Then take the Portsmouth/Norfolk exit (exit 15A) to Interstate 264 east to Virginia Beach.

Highway Advisory Radio (HAR) – Tune to 1680 AM to stay informed on Hampton Roads traffic, travel conditions and construction information. 
While VDOT will lift most lane closures for holiday travel, motorists may encounter permanent work zones or travel delays in the following locations:

Accomack County 
Route 609 – Road closed for widening project. Use detour.

Albemarle County/ Charlottesville
U.S. 29 – All lanes will be open through the “Route 29 Solutions” construction projects. Watch for reduced speed limits and narrowed lane widths in work zones.

Amherst County
U.S. 501 – Replacing bridge at Route 130 intersection over James River. Traffic controls and flaggers in use.

Charles City County
Route 5 – Replacing bridge over Herring Creek. Temporary signal directing traffic.

Dinwiddie County
Route 226 – Replacing bridge 0.3 miles east of U.S. 460. Temporary signal directing traffic.

Essex County
U.S. 17 – Replacing bridge at Tignor Creek. Traffic reduced to one lane each direction in Tappahannock, near June Parker Marina.

Fluvanna County
Route 6 – Replacing bridge over Rivanna River. Traffic restricted to one lane controlled by temporary signals.

Frederick County
I-81 – Reconstructing interchange at exit 310. Speed limit through work zone reduced to 60 mph.

Giles County
U.S. 460 – Paving. Westbound lane closures in place, beginning west of Route 42 (mile marker 22) and ending at Route 730 (mile marker 26.5).

Greensville County
U.S. 301 – Replacing southbound bridge over rail tracks north of Emporia. Traffic detoured to I-95.

Interstate 664 at I-64 – Rehabilitating bulkhead at bridge on northbound I-664 flyover ramp to westbound I-64. Prepare for traffic shift to the right lane after Powhatan Parkway (Exit 2).

Interstate 264 – Right lanes closed both directions between Portsmouth Boulevard and Effingham Street for construction of the new Martin Luther King (MLK) Extension. Two lanes open to traffic. 

U.S. 360 – Replacing bridge deck. Traffic limited to two lanes on Mechanicsville Turnpike over I-64, with one travel lane each direction. Ramp from eastbound U.S. 360 to westbound I-64 remains closed. Follow posted detour.

Interstate 581 – Constructing diverging-diamond interchange. Northbound right lane closed from 10th Street to Liberty Road approaching Valley View Mall. Shoulders closed, barricade walls in place. All lanes on Valley View Boulevard will be open.

Rockbridge County
I-64 – Rehabilitating Maury River bridge. Eastbound traffic will detour across median to westbound lanes between mile markers 53.3 and 55.3. Traffic both directions will use westbound bridge during work on eastbound bridge.

Westmoreland County
Route 205 – Replacing bridge on James Monroe Highway over Mattox Creek. Temporary signals directing single traffic lane on bridge.        

Wythe County
Interstate 77/I-81 overlap – High traffic volumes could slow or stop vehicles through this eight-mile stretch. Be alert for delays on northbound I-77 at the I-81 merge.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Transportation Training Symposium Helps Propel DBE Firms

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – The 2015 Virginia Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Transportation Training Symposium, hosted by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the Transportation DBE Advisory Committee on Dec. 9-10, provided DBE firms the chance to learn about trends and best practices of the transportation industry and develop and advance partnerships to create contracting opportunities.
“We are proud to assist the Transportation DBE Advisory Committee in facilitating growth and business opportunities for DBE firms in Virginia through this event,” said VDOT Commissioner Charlie Kilpatrick. “These businesses play an important role in transportation projects across the commonwealth, and are at the heart of our mission to Keep Virginia Moving.”
Approximately 250 people attended the DBE training symposium, with more than 100 organizations represented, including prime contractors and consultants, DBE firms and government agencies.
The two-day training event and awards program, held in Williamsburg, was designed to provide educational workshops, recognize outstanding DBEs and provide network opportunities between DBE firms and prime contractors and consultants that will lead to more work on highway-related contracts in the future.
The DBE Awards Program held Dec. 10 recognized the following firms for outstanding performance and participation in the DBE Program: 
  • Outstanding DBE Transportation of Materials Firm of the Year- Ty’s Hauling & Paving, Inc.
  • Outstanding DBE Supplier of the Year- CLS Trucking, Inc.
  • DBE Trailblazer of the Year- Sandra’s Marking Co. Inc.
  • Outstanding DBE Contractor of the Year- D.T. Read Steel Co., Inc.
  • Outstanding DBE Consultant of the Year- MJ Synergy Group, LLC
  • Prime Contractor of the Year- E.V. Williams, Inc.
  • Prime Consultant of the Year- A. Morton Thomas & Associates, Inc.
  • DBE Achievement of the Year- JIREH Construction Co., Inc.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Calgary Cycle Track Pilot Riding A Wave Of Support

After a bumpy start, Calgarians appear to be warming up to the city's cycle track network.  
Tom Thivener, the city's cycling co-ordinator — who not surprisingly uses sections of the 6.5-kilometre network every day, says peoples' views appear to be changing.  
Calgary's cycling co-ordinator Tom Thivener
Calgary's cycling co-ordinator Tom Thivener takes a spin down Fifth Street S.W. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)
He has prepared an update for the city's transportation and transit committee that will be presented to councillors Friday morning.  
Among the highlights, Thivener says bike trips along the five-month old track reached 388,000 between mid-June when it opened and mid-November.
"It's essentially a doubling of the cycling trips on these corridors," said Thivener while standing on the edge of the track on 12th Avenue S.W. 
Read the rest of the story at CBC News.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Problem With Designing Streets For Peak Hour Traffic

When engineers make decisions about streets, they tend to emphasize the “peak hour” — the morning and evening rush when traffic is at its most intense. For the most part, city streets are still designed to move motor vehicles during this relatively short period of time, to the detriment of people outside of cars — i.e. the people who live in the neighborhood.
Bill Lindeke at has been thinking over the implications of this approach to street design. He uses an example in Saint Paul, where the county is considering adding a turn lane to reduce rush hour delay:
By making this change, the Ramsey County study projects that the average car will save a few seconds of time stuck in traffic. For example, according to the model the proposed layout would subtract 20 seconds of delay for Northbound cars while adding a 5 seconds to Southbound cars.
The key thing, though, is that these time savings only occur during the peak hour. For the rest of the day, when the “capacity constraint” isn’t constraining much of anything, the impact on drivers would be negligible.
Meanwhile, for the entire day, the intersection would have worse “LOS” [level of service] for everyone else, especially people on foot trying to cross the street. Adding a turn lane, widening the street, or adding a thru lane (which are three of the options) would increase speeds at the intersection at all times of the day and night, eroding safety for neighbors and anyone trying to cross the street.

Read the rest of the story here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Transportation Board Approves McAuliffe Administration's Proposal to Transform 66 Inside Beltway

ALEXANDRIA – The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) approved today new travel choices to ease congestion and improve reliability on I-66 inside the Beltway during rush hours.  Improvements will move more people with fewer vehicles by increasing transit, carpooling and other multi-modal options and allowing single-occupant drivers access to the facility for a toll. 
“After years of exhaustive study and public input, we finally have a pragmatic solution that can be can be implemented quickly and provide real results to improve traffic flow on one of the nation’s most congested roadways,” said Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne. “The CTB supported the McAuliffe administration’s proposal to deliver reasonable solutions to ease congestion in Northern Virginia. Transforming I-66 inside the Beltway is part of the McAuliffe administration’s strategy to unlock congestion in Northern Virginia to improve economic competitiveness.”
The CTB approved an agreement with the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC), in which the Virginia Department of Transportation will deliver and manage the tolling operation, and the NVTC will invest toll revenues in multi-modal improvements to directly benefit users of the corridor.   Last week, the NVTC approved its part of the agreement to invest toll revenues.
The expected benefits of the project include the following:
  • Reduce more than 26,000 person hours of delay a day by 2040
  • Move more than 40,000 additional people through the I-66 corridor a day by 2040
  • Provide reliable travel speeds of at least 45 mph during rush hours in the peak direction
  • Provide increased travel choices for single-occupant drivers and transit users
Extensive studies performed over the past several administrations in Virginia show a combination of dynamic tolling and multi-modal improvements will provide a faster and more reliable trip on I-66 inside the Beltway during peak travel times, providing a minimum reliable speed of 45 miles per hour.
Project description:
  • If you carpool today (two or more people in a vehicle), you will continue to ride the lanes for free when dynamic tolling is scheduled to begin in 2017 during morning and evening rush-hours (5:30 am to 9:30 am eastbound and 3 pm to 7 pm westbound).  Solo drivers can ride the lanes in exchange for paying a variable toll based on the distance they travel. Average toll is expected to be $6 a trip.   
  • In 2020, lanes will be free to vehicles with three or more people during rush-hours (carpoolers, vanpools and buses) and motorcycles per adopted regional policy.  All others will pay a variable toll.
  • The lanes will remain free to all traffic during off-peak periods.  There will be no tolling in the reverse commute.
  • All of the revenues raised from the tolls will finance transportation improvements in the corridor.  Estimated toll revenue in 2018 is $18 million.
  • Should traffic not flow better in five years, toll revenues will be used to widen I-66 eastbound from the Dulles Connector Road to Ballston.
“There is no question that something has to be done now to get traffic moving on I-66 inside the Beltway, and I am confident we have the right solution to bring congestion relief at a reasonable cost,” said VDOT Commissioner Charlie Kilpatrick. 
Layne added, “Before spending a minimum of $100 million to widen the road, it is fiscally responsible for the commonwealth to exhaust all common-sense options that will get traffic to move more efficiently through increased bus use, transit options and better managing the space we have by encouraging carpooling.   Improvements can startquickly in a cost efficient manner.  This project finances itself, with every cent raised from toll revenues going back into the corridor. ”
For more information:
Transportation Deputy Secretary Nick Donohue’s presentation
Project information

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Transportation Board Awards Contracts Worth $86 Million

ALEXANDRIA  – The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) today awarded six contracts worth approximately $86 million for major infrastructure improvements.
The projects – in the Bristol, Culpeper, Fredericksburg, Hampton Roads and Lynchburg districts of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) – will improve mobility, enhance safety and extend the life of the state’stransportation network.
The contracts are for projects that will:
  1. Reconstruct Interstate 81 exit 14 interchange in Abingdon
The CTB awarded a contract worth approximately $34 million to W-L Construction & Paving Inc. of Chilhowie, Va., to reconstruct the interchange at exit 14 on Interstate 81 in Abingdon in VDOT’s Bristol District.
The project will: replace the two interstate bridges over Route 647 (Old Jonesboro Road); construct separate northbound exit and entrance ramps; widen Old Jonesboro Road; modify Dennison Drive; and add signals at the ramp intersections.
The new on/off ramps will improve safety for motorists by eliminating the existing cloverleaf loops that force northbound traffic exiting I-81 to weave among vehicles entering the interstate because they share the same short acceleration/deceleration lane.
The project, which starts in January, is scheduled to be complete in the fall of 2018.
  1. Replace two bridges on Interstate 95 over the Meherrin River in Emporia
The CTB awarded a contract worth approximately $22.2 million to Wagman Construction Inc. of York, Pa., to replace the northbound and southbound bridges on I-95 over the Meherrin River in Emporia in the Hampton Roads District.
The new bridges will meet current design standards and provide safer shoulder widths. The southbound bridge will be built to the west of the existing southbound bridge to eliminate the need for a detour for traffic in both directions.
The project is scheduled to be complete in October 2019. More information is available at
  1. Construct the Western Outer Loop in Culpeper County
The CTB awarded a contract worth approximately $9.7 million to General Excavation Inc. of Warrenton, Va., to build the Western Outer Loop road in the Culpeper District.
When complete, Route 784 will connect U.S. 522 (Sperryville Pike) and Route 729 (Eggbornsville Road). The 2.25-mile road will link points west of the town of Culpeper to its commercial center, as well as to Warrenton and other areas to the north.
The project is scheduled for completion in November 2017. More information is available at
  1. Improve safety along the U.S. 29/460 corridor in Lynchburg
The CTB awarded a contract worth approximately $8.4 million to Haymes Brothers Inc. of Chatham, Va., for the second phase of safety improvements along the U.S. 29/460 corridor in Lynchburg. The project will better manage the access for vehicles needing to enter and exit businesses and other properties along the four-lane divided roadway between U.S. 501 (Campbell Avenue) and Poston Street.
New auxiliary lanes will be constructed so drivers can accelerate to or decelerate from highway speeds. The new lanes will improve safety along this 1.3-mile section of Richmond Highway by eliminating the speed differentials in the travel lanes.
This project in the Lynchburg District is scheduled for completion in November 2017. More detailed information is available at
  1. Replace the Slate River bridge on Route 20 in Buckingham County
The CTB awarded a contract worth approximately $6.6 million to Allegheny Construction Company of Roanoke, Va., to replace the Route 20 bridge over the Slate River in Buckingham County in the Lynchburg District.
The new bridge will be wider and meet current design standards. The new bridge will be built adjacent to the existing bridge to reduce traffic impacts during construction.
The project is scheduled for completion in November 2017. More information is available at
  1. Repair the James Madison Memorial Bridge on U.S. 301 at the Caroline/King George county line
The CTB awarded a contract worth approximately $5.1 million to Freyssinet Inc. of Sterling, Va., to rehabilitate the James Madison Memorial Bridge over the Rappahannock River in the Fredericksburg District.
The maintenance will occur below the bridge deck and includes: repairing concrete throughout the structure and on the beam ends; replacing bearings; shoring up rip-rap on the slope; and replacing navigation lights on the fender system.
One lane in each direction on the bridge will remain open during the work. The maintenance is scheduled for completion in October 2017. More information is available at
Major CTB contract awards for 2015
The following chart tracks the dollar amount of major contracts the CTB has awarded in calendar year 2015 (the CTB did not meet in August and November and awarded no major contracts in October):

Contracts approved by commissioner
In advance of each CTB meeting, VDOT Commissioner Charlie Kilpatrick also approves contracts worth up to $5 million in value. From the October and November bid lettings, the commissioner approved 50 contracts worth an approximate total of $60.7 million for construction and maintenance projects on Virginia’s interstates and primary and secondary roads.
Appointed by the governor, the 17-member CTB establishes the administrative policies for Virginia's transportation system. The CTB allocates highway funding to specific projects, locates routes and provides funding for airports, seaports and public transportation. The board normally meets on the third Wednesday of the month in months when action meetings are scheduled,
For more information:
  • Final bid results and projects:
  • CTB meeting, times and locations:

Monday, December 14, 2015

Toll Concession Procurement To Deliver I-66 Outside The Beltway Improvements

ALEXANDRIA – The project to move more people and provide new travel choices on I-66 outside the Beltway in Northern Virginia will be privately financed under a partnership between the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the private sector under the Public Private Transportation Act.   VDOT Commissioner Charlie Kilpatrick informed the Commonwealth Transportation Board today that it’s in the public’s best interest for the private sector to finance, design, build, maintain and operate the project with oversight from the commonwealth.  
“Thanks to Governor Terry McAuliffe’s leadership and in working with Delegate Chris Jones to reform the P3 process, the commonwealth was able to increase competition and get interested private sector parties to agree to terms that minimize risk and maximize benefits for taxpayers,” said Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne. “To make sure the commonwealth is in a position of strength in negotiations, we will keep the public financing option on the table until a contract is signed.”  
Commissioner Kilpatrick added, “My decision is based on the facts and what’s in the best interest of the public.  The commonwealth put the new P3 law into action by closely evaluating risk and what would make the best business sense for the commonwealth.  We developed business terms that would bring the greatest benefits to the public.  This attracted healthy competition from 13 private sector proposals from five teams, all of them fully engaged.”
All three of the private sector teams for a toll concession indicated they could meet or beat the commonwealth’s terms for this project. Those terms include the following:
  • Maximum public cost of up to $600 million;
  • Private financing of remaining construction costs;
  • Support for transit capital and operating over the term of the deal; and,
  • $350 million in net present value provided back for corridor improvements over the term of the deal.
Kilpatrick will brief the Transportation Public-Private Partnership Advisory Committee of his decision on Dec. 14 in Richmond.  The meeting, which begins at 2 pm at the VDOT Central Office in Richmond, is open to the public.
VDOT expects to select a private sector partner in the fall of 2016 with financial close scheduled for spring of 2017.
Project Background: 
Work is under way to transform Northern Virginia’s I-66 outside the Beltway into a multi-modal corridor that moves traffic and people quicker and in a more reliable way. VDOT and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation are actively evaluating improvements that would provide added capacity, and new options with more predictable travel times. Under the proposed plan, I-66 would be improved to provide:
  • Three regular lanes in each direction
  • Two express lanes in each direction
  • High-frequency bus service with predictable travel times
  • Direct access between the express lanes and new or expanded commuter lots
In July 2014, the team kicked off a year-and-a-half of environmental study and community involvement. By the end of 2016, the team is working to complete environmental work and begin construction in 2017.
Online resources:
Commissioner Kilpatrick’s presentation Project information 
P3 information and documents