Thursday, April 28, 2016

UVA - TTA To Offer Workshops To Local Government Agencies On Understanding The Design & Maintenance Of Roadways

Elected officials and others who are responsible for the development and maintenance of road programs are invited to consider two upcoming TTA workshops. Taught by Edwin Stellfox, a civil engineer and director of the Maryland T2 Center, the workshops will provide a comprehensive overview of road design considerations as well as strategies for managing construction and maintenance costs. Drawing upon 45 years of public works experience, Mr. Stellfox will introduce participants to the complexities faced by road maintenance departments, helping them to understand how basic road design knowledge can be applied to program and budget administration.

Understanding Road Design and Maintenance for Elected Officials, to be held on June 15, will provide a basic understanding of the design and maintenance of municipal roads within the context of a road and street budget. Topics will include causes of deterioration, traffic and geometric design factors, drainage maintenance, asphalt paving distresses, recycling, resurfacing, road surface management and other topics or interest to the participants. Participants should bring an example of a construction or maintenance projects and its associated cost estimates. These projects will form the basis for class discussion on the challenges of road design, construction and maintenance in language that is appropriate for non-engineers.

Techniques for Reducing Construction Maintenance Costs, to be held on June 16, will address budgetary constraints within the context of rising construction and maintenance costs. Strategies for conserving resources and using energy efficient and low maintenance materials will be discussed. A range of analysis techniques, such as present worth, life cycle costing, relative cost rankings, and matrix analysis, will be presented. The workshop will also provide an overview of job planning, including selection, investigation, speculation, evaluation, development, presentation and audit. Participants should bring a small project with known bid costs for class discussion and to work through the value engineering process.

Mr. Stellfox has a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Drexel University and a Masters degree in Education from Penn State University.  He has 30 years of experience in transferring transportation technology with the LTAP program. He has worked in several different municipalities as a public works director and a municipal engineer.

Understanding Road Design & Maintenance for Elected Officials
June 15, 2016
Charlottesville, VA

Click Here To Register

Techniques for Reducing Construction & Maintenance Costs
June 16, 2016
Charlottesville, VA
Click Here to Register

(All VDOT employees must register through Virtual Campus for in-person workshops.)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Upcoming TTA/LTAP Workshops

VDOT employees must sign up through the Virtual Campus

Workshops Currently Available:

Monday, April 25, 2016

VDOT Named 2016 Transportation Owner Of The Year

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – TheDesign Build Institute of America (DBIA) recognized the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) as Transportation Owner of the Year this month at the DBIA Design-Build in Transportation Conference in Charlotte, N.C.
“VDOT is a leader in design-build and strives to continueits commitment to the program,” Commissioner Charles Kilpatrick said. “The design-build process is a means to deliver transportation projects faster and more efficiently than traditional methods, while also contributing to economic growth and development in the commonwealth.”
DBIA’s Transportation Owner of the Year Awards recognize transportation industry organizations that have made significant contributions in advancing the awareness, understanding and use of the design-build project delivery method.
In the design-build method of project delivery, contractors and design consultants form an integrated team to assume the responsibility for design and construction. This single point of responsibility typically results in increased innovation and faster project delivery than the traditional VDOT-designed and contractor-built method.
The number of design-build projects has steadily increased since VDOT first began using the delivery method in 2004. Currently, there are 29 design-build projects in progress, valued at $1.17 billion, which represents 54 percent of its total contract value of $2.16 billion.
Award winners are selected by DBIA’s Transportation Committee, comprised of design-build professionals and industry experts from across the country.
Additional information about the DBIA awards can be found at

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Raise Awareness For Safe Driving Through Work Zones

RICHMOND —The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) reminds drivers to be on alert as National Work Zone Awareness Week, April 11 to 15, raises awareness for safe driving in a growing number of work zones. 
“Our VDOT men and women work hard to improve and repair our roads,” Governor Terry McAuliffe said. “To keep everyone safe, please give these highway workers your full attention as you travel through work zones on Virginia’s roads.”
This year’s national theme – “Don’t Be That Driver! Work on Safety. Get Home Safely. Every Day” – emphasizes the risks of distracted driving, especially near work zones.
“Work zones are an important investment in Virginia’s infrastructure.” said Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey L. Layne, Jr. “Somewhere in Virginia every day and night, there is a VDOT crew or contractor working to improve our transportation system. In 2015, we averaged 157 construction projects and 310 maintenance projects each month. These improvements will make your travel easier and safer. Distracted driving, especially in work zones, puts drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and road workers at unnecessary risk.”
In Virginia last year, there were 2,622 work zone crashes resulting in 1,417 injuries and seven fatalities.
“Highway workers often have nothing more than a 12-pound cone separating them from traffic,” VDOT Commissioner Charlie Kilpatrick said. “Most fatalities in work zones are motorists. While we recognize a special week for work zone awareness, work zone safety is important year-round. Always be alert and drive with caution so everyone can arrive home safely.”
April 13 Activities and Events 
  • Go Orange Day: Wear Orange to support Work Zone Awareness Week. The Governor and First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe are showing their support by lighting the mansion in orange.
  • VDOT Vigil: 6:30 p.m. at the VDOT Workers’ Memorial (Interstate 64 on Afton Mountain in Albemarle County, milepost 102 eastbound). The public is invited to attend this event that honors employees who lost their lives in work zone crashes.   
  • Follow VDOT on Facebook and Twitter. Use the hashtags: #NWZAW, #GoOrangeVA and #OrangeforSafety.
VDOT offers the following tips to increase safety as you navigate highway work zones:
  • Expect the unexpected. Keep an eye out for workers and slow-moving equipment.
  • Follow the signs. Signs and flaggers will direct you through the work zone. Expect changes in traffic patterns as the project progresses.
  • Don’t tailgate. Unexpected stops frequently occur in work zones.
  • Don’t speed. Enhanced fines of up to $500 may be levied for speeding in a work zone.
  • Focus. Focus your full attention on the road and those traveling around you.
  • Never change lanes in the work zone.
  • Minimize distractions. Avoid changing radio stations and using phones.
  • Be patient. Crews are working to improve the safety and comfort of your travels.
  • Know before you go. Call 511 for up-to-the-minute traffic and weather information from any phone in Virginia. Before you travel, log on to for road and traffic conditions, weather forecasts and livetraffic cameras on many major highways. 
More information about Work Zone Awareness Week is available on VDOT’s website
Learn more about the VDOT Workers’ Memorial, including information about some of the people memorialized on the monument. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Three Aging Safety Rest Areas To Be Replaced

RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will replace three of the Commonwealth’s most-visited and oldest Safety Rest Areas to better meet the needs of motorists traveling in the Commonwealth.
“Adequate rest area and welcome center facilities are essential for motorists traveling through Virginia,” said VDOT Commissioner Charles Kilpatrick.“Comfortable facilities encourage travelers to take a break from driving, which promotes safety on our highways and helps to decrease fatigue-related accidents.”
Three rest areas (rendering at right) on Interstate 95, two in Caroline County and the other just across the Virginia state line, will close for demolition beginning mid-April and open prior to Memorial Day with temporary facilities. The facilities are Ladysmith rest areas north and southbound I-95 in Caroline County and Skippers rest area and welcome center northbound I-95 in Greensville County.
The three rest areas will be completely rebuilt at a cost of $11.6 million with construction scheduled for completion by Memorial Day in 2017. The improvements include the following:
  • Larger modern facilities with additional restrooms
  • A welcome center will be added to the Ladysmith rest areas on I-95 northbound
  • Restrooms will contain energy and water efficient fixtures.
  • Buildings will meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.
VDOT looked at the 43 rest areas and welcome centers across the state and ranked them based on visitation and age. They found that three of the most-visited facilities were also some of the oldest and smallest. Based on those criteria, the rest areas at Ladysmith and Skippers ranked as top priorities for reconstruction. They were built in the mid to late 1960s. Bigger buildings and additional restroom facilities are now needed to accommodate today’s larger volume of visitors.
Thirty-three million people a year visit the state’s 43 rest areas and welcome centers. More than three million travelers visit the Ladysmith rest areas and 1.3 million people visit the Skippers rest area and welcome center.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

VDOT Brings Out The Pothole Hunter

RICHMOND, Va. – Spring flowers are in bloom and so are potholes. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is using humor to provide awareness on how to report potholes by bringing out their own “spokesperson,” Pothole Hunter Phil Itkwik.
Itkwik is campaigning to attack potholes on the commonwealth’s roadways.
“VDOT crews, contractors and I have potholes in our sights,” said Itkwik. “We’re working to repair them to keep roadways as safe as possible, but it helps to have extra eyes on the roads. If you see a pothole, call 800-FOR ROAD (800-367-7623) or go to and click on ‘Report a Road Problem’ in the top right corner of the website.”
“Because potholes present a safety issue for motorists, VDOT crews are focused on repairing potholes as quickly as possible,” said VDOT Commissioner Charles Kilpatrick. “We bring out the ‘Pothole Hunter’ as a humorous way to raise awareness on how to report potholes in Virginia. We appreciate the public’s assistance in the hunt for potholes as Phil Itkwik and our crews continue to do a great job tackling these roadway hazards.”
Once VDOT is aware of a pothole, it’s communicated to local crews and repairs are scheduled according to its severity and location. Motorists can report potholes to VDOT’s Customer Service Center.
How Potholes are formed and repaired
Potholes form (click graphic at right) when moisture seeps into pavement, freezes, expands and thaws. This cycle weakens the pavement and the weight of traffic causes it to loosen. Over time, the pavement begins to crumble.
Repairs are made with a variety of materials based on the temperature and the availability of materials. “Hot mix” asphalt is the preferred material for most surfaces, but it is often not available during colder months when temperatures are less than 50 degrees. Repairs made with other materials may be revisited once hot mix asphalt is available.
VDOT repairs potholes only on state-maintained roads, which include interstates and most primary and secondary roads. Local governments are responsible for pothole repair on city streets as well as roads in Henrico and Arlington counties. Potholes on a city street, or an Arlington or Henrico county road should be reported to the local public works agency.
To report potholes
  • Use VDOT’s online form to report potholes and other road problems.
  • Click on “Report a Road Problem” in the top right corner of
  • Call 800-367-7623 (800-FOR-ROAD) 24 hours a day to reach VDOT’s customer service center to report road hazards or ask road-related questions.
  • Visit the potholes web page for more information.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Merry Point Ferry Out Of Service Starting April 12

FREDERICKSBURG – The Merry Point Ferry in Lancaster County will be taken out of service starting Tuesday, April 12for routine maintenance and painting of the vessel.
The ferry will be out of service for approximately 45 days. Service will resume by Memorial Day weekend. Ferry service will continue this week until the close of normal service hours on Saturday, April 9.
The Merry Point Ferry is a free ferry operated by the Virginia Department of Transportation. Located on Route 604 (Merry Point Road), it crosses the western end of the Corrotoman River. 
Additional information about the Merry Point Ferry is available online:
For real-time updates on lane closures, traffic incidents, and congestion, please visit VDOT’s 24-hour traffic information website,
Motorists can also access 511Virginia by calling 511 from any telephone in Virginia, or downloading VDOT’s 511Virginia free mobile app.

Plans To Extend I-395 Express Lanes Launched

FAIRFAX - Virginia Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne today launched the McAuliffe Administration's plans to extend the northern section of the I-395 Express Lanes, providing expansion of a managed lanes network that provides faster and more reliable travel, and new choices to Northern Virginia - one of the most congested regions in the country. The 395 Express Lanes extension, which involves expanding and converting two high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes to three express lanes from north of Edsall Road to Eads Street near the Pentagon, will help ease bottlenecks that occur where the existing 395 Express Lanes end. Improvements to the commuter-heavy Eads Street interchange and transit improvements on the entire I-395/I-95 Corridor are other key benefits of the project. This eight-mile extension is the latest addition to a growing network of express lanes aimed at unlocking gridlock in Northern Virginia. 
"By 2021, we will have created an 84-mile network of express lanes that moves more people with fewer vehicles, using all modes of transportation, throughout Northern Virginia," commented Virginia Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne. "This seamless network provides unprecedented travel choices to travelers to reach their destinations faster, and helps open up our congested roads for commerce - top priorities for Governor McAuliffe and the Commonwealth," continued Layne.
In November 2015, VDOT and its 95 Express Lanes partner, Transurban, entered into a framework agreement and began working together to finalize the scope of improvements, finance plan and arrangements to expand the express lanes northbound on I-395. As part of the agreement, Transurban will provide long-term transit investments through an annual payment to fund transit improvements on the entire I-95/I-395 Corridor. Virginia's Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) is engaging in a transit and transportation demand management (TDM) study to identify priority transit projects that should be supported by these funds. The I-395 extension project is expected to be built largely within VDOT's right of way, and also will involve building new noise walls to protect neighboring communities. VDOT currently is leading an environmental assessment to study all potential effects the improvements would have on the natural environment, and will engage the public for input at public hearings in fall 2016.
The expanded express lanes network also includes extending the I-95 Express Lanes southbound, past Garrisonville Road in Stafford County, in order to reduce rush-hour bottlenecks where the current express lanes end at Garrisonville Road. Combined with the northbound extension, this 2.5-mile southbound extension provides drivers the opportunity for a reliable trip from Stafford County to nearly the Washington, D.C. line.
Construction on the I-395 Northern Extension is expected to begin in spring 2017 with completion in summer 2019. Construction on the I-95 Southern Terminus extension is expected to get underway as early as this summer, with the new southbound ramp opening in winter 2017/2018, and a new northbound ramp opening in summer 2018.
Transforming the I-66 Corridor is another critical solution to Northern Virginia's traffic challenges. Over the past year, VDOT and DRPT have been working on plans to bring express lanes and multimodal solutions to I-66 Outside the Beltway, and provide a package of improvements to I-66 Inside the Beltway, including dynamic tolling during rush hours in the peak directions and funding multimodal improvements that will directly benefit travelers on the I-66 Corridor. As part of the overall improvements inside the Beltway, the decision was made to move forward with widening I-66 eastbound from the Dulles Connector Road to Ballston. Multimodal solutions are a top priority of the Commonwealth on both I-66 improvement projects as well, and will be critical to transforming the corridor.
For more information, go to and

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Why Bike Lanes With Lots of Bike Traffic Can Still Appear “Empty”

Wherever there is a bike lane, there is probably an angry driver complaining that it is always empty.
San Francisco’s Market Street bike counter. PhotoU.S. DOT
That tends to be the case even when plenty of people do use the bike lane. And there are reasons for that, writes University of Minnesota professor David Levinson. Mathematical, geometrical reasons. Like the fact that free-flowing bike traffic will look much sparser than gridlocked car traffic, even when the number of cyclists using the bike lane is the same as the number of motorists in an adjacent car lane.
“The view from the dashboard, from the front window of the car, is going to be looking at the view of cars and the density is high,” Levinson told Streetsblog. “And you’re going to look at the other lane and see there’s no bicycles in it and you’re going to think nobody’s using it.”
Read the rest of the story here.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Five Myths About Bicycling

Each year, 100 million Americans jump on a bicycle at least once, especially when the weather gets warm. Some of these pedalers are recreational riders; others rely on their bikes for transportation to and from work. In the past few years, cities have rushed to accommodate such travelers: Scores of bike lanes and bike-share programs have popped up. But there are still a lot of misconceptions about getting around on two wheels. As the number of cyclists rises, it’s important to keep in mind some truths about who they are, how they behave and what impact they have on the space around us.
1Mandating helmet use is the best way to keep riders safe.
There’s no doubt about it: Helmets save lives. Studies show they reduce the risk of cyclist head injury by 85 percent. Recently, bike advocates such as Greg Kaplan have argued that riding without a helmet should be illegal. “Wearing a helmet while riding a bike is analogous to wearing a seatbelt while driving,” he wrote in Bicycling magazine.
Read the rest of the story here.

Monday, April 4, 2016

A new study looks at why bike share is so much safer than regular biking

Here's a striking fact: Not a single person has died using bike share in the United States.
Bike sharing has seen explosive growth since 2007, with systems in at least 94 citiesand more than 35 million trips taken. There have been some serious injuries, yes. But — knock on wood — we've seen zero US deaths from bike sharing so far.* Contrast this with the overall estimated cycling fatality rate of 21 deaths per 100 million trips.
And that's not necessarily a fluke: researchers have found that bike-share riders tend to get into far fewer crashes than other cyclists. A new report from the Mineta Transportation Institute sifts through data from bike-share systems in Washington DC, San Francisco, and Minneapolis. They found that bike-share bikes had lower collision and injury rates than personal bikes in all three cities. In DC, the collision rate for bike share was 35 percent lower.
Read the rest of the story here.