Tuesday, April 17, 2018

EDC 4: Road Weather Management

The FHWA’s Every Day Counts initiative identifies and deploys proven, yet underutilized, innovations to shorten the project delivery process, enhance roadway safety, reduce traffic congestion, and improve environmental sustainability. Read on to learn more about one of the EDC 4 (2017 – 2018) initiatives:  Road Weather Management and Weather-Savvy Roads.
Integrating mobile observations and Pathfinder strategies can help agencies manage road systems and inform travelers ahead of, and during, adverse road weather conditions.
Heavy rain, snow, and other storms can have significant impacts on the safety, mobility, and productivity of road users. Over the last 10 years, 22 percent of all vehicle crashes were weather related. On average, these crashes resulted in nearly 6,000 deaths and more than 445,000 injuries each year. Likewise, the delays associated with adverse weather can be profound and have significant economic impacts.
Through round 4 of Every Day Counts (EDC-4), this effort deploys two distinct road weather management solutions that allow state and local agencies to be proactive in managing the surface transportation system ahead of and during adverse weather events.


Pathfinder is a collaborative effort between the National Weather Service (NWS), state departments of transportation (DOTs), and state DOT support contractors who provide road weather information to share and translate weather forecasts into consistent transportation impact statements for the public.
The Pathfinder Implementation Plan lays out a multi-step process on what information to share when and how before, during, and after high-impact weather events. This provides the public with consistent and actionable messages on potential impacts to the transportation system.


Integrating mobile observations (IMO) involves collecting weather and road condition data from government fleet vehicles, such as snowplows. The focus is on supplemental data from ancillary sensors installed on the vehicles, such as pavement temperature sensors, and it also includes native vehicle data such as windshield wiper status and anti-lock brake or traction control system activation.
The data provides maintenance managers with an extremely detailed view of the weather and road conditions along the road network. This information supports a number of road weather management strategies, such as a winter maintenance decision support system that enables agencies to use only the necessary amounts of labor and equipment to pre-treat roads with salt and other materials. It also supports traveler advisories and warnings, ultimately resulting in improvements in safety and mobility.


  • Enhanced Collaboration. Working together to execute the Pathfinder Implementation Plan strengthens the relationships between the NWS and DOTs.
  • Informed Travelers. Cohesive weather impact statements enable drivers to make better decisions regarding whether, when, and where to travel.
  • Improved Safety, Mobility, and Economy. Consistent impact messages can reduce traffic demand, with the ultimate goal of saving lives and property and minimizing the impact of weather events.


  • Cost-Efficient Operation. Employing sensors on existing fleets is a relatively low-cost method of gathering road weather observations that can support numerous maintenance, traffic, and performance management strategies.
  • Proactive Management. Vehicle-based technologies provide agencies with the information needed to proactively manage roadway systems before the negative impacts of road weather occur.
  • Improved Safety, Mobility, and Economy. Connected vehicles technologies, advanced weather prediction and targeted decision support enable operators to more effectively maintain a high level of service on roads, which decreases crashes and keeps traffic moving smoothly.


Pathfinder was born out of the success surrounding the coordination between the Utah DOT and the NWS local forecast office during the 2002 Winter Olympics. The FHWA and NWS worked with the Utah DOT to document the processes, and then expanded it to be applicable across the country. The document was next used by the Nevada and Wyoming DOTs and then refined to become the Pathfinder Implementation Plan.
Most state DOTs have implemented some form of vehicle-based technology, usually for automatic vehicle location and real-time communication. IMO builds on these capabilities by adding ancillary sensors to collect road weather data, while also tapping into the engine’s “black box” to collect and disseminate resident data. The Minnesota, Michigan, and Nevada DOTs are deploying such systems, and FHWA is working with them to document the lessons learned from the implementation process as well as the management strategies (such as traveler information systems and road weather performance management systems) that these data improve.
Find more road weather management resources at the FHWA’s EDC website.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Safety Circuit Rider Coming to Virginia

Hey everybody!  You’ve seen me around the state the last few years talking about LTAP, workshops and safety but now I’ve got some really big news!  We’re close to hiring a new Safety Circuit Rider!
What’s a Safety Circuit Rider (SCR)? This professionally-trained engineer will travel around the state, visiting local agencies to help identify roadway safety issues and develop treatment options.
I had the chance to talk about the new Virginia SCR program with Steven Yob, Director of Henrico County Public Works. Here’s what he had to say:
“I am very happy to see these new opportunities to provide cost effective, timely and convenient training for our transportation professionals.  The VA LTAP is a respected training resource that always does an excellent job. I am very supportive of this new program to provide leadership and excellent work in this necessary area.”
Steven’s correct – the SCR program is a great addition to the kinds of services we already deliver to our clients in local government.  We’ll be providing even more in-classroom safety classes. And our Safety Circuit Rider will come out and conduct a safety audit to help you assess unsafe roadways in your community so we can work hand in hand to help make your city safer.
The Safety Circuit Rider will also help with technical assistance.  Need some advice on installing signs?  Have a question about safety device options? Drop me a line at scr@virginia.edu and we’ll figure out an SCR game plan. We’re here to help!
By the way, do you know an engineer who might be a great fit for this full-time position? Please pass on this application information (https:/jobs.virginia.edu/applicants/Central?quickFind=84092).
Be safe out there and I’ll see you on the TTA Highway!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Christopher G. Hall Named Hampton Roads District Engineer

Christopher G. Hall

VDOT Hampton Roads District Engineeer
Christopher G. Hall
RICHMOND, Virginia — Following a nationwide search, Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Commissioner Stephen C. Brich announces that Christopher G. Hall has been selected as the new Hampton Roads district engineer.
“Chris brings extensive leadership, strategic planning, technical expertise, project and resource management skills and experience, all vital to this critical role,” said Brich. “The Hampton Roads region is one with many unique transportation opportunities, all of which Chris is equipped to manage.”
Hall will oversee roadway construction, maintenance and operations for nearly 10,000 lane miles in VDOT’s Hampton Roads District, which includes the counties of Accomack, Greensville, Isle of Wight, James City, Northampton, Southampton, Surry, Sussex and York.
A licensed professional engineer in Virginia and Ohio, Hall has nearly 30 years of experience in leadership roles with the United States Army and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Hall recently served as the USACE District Commander for the St. Louis District, overseeing the maintenance and operations of strategic inland and navigation and water control infrastructure worth approximately $15 billion, as well as leading the execution of a $300 million construction program.
“As a resident of this region, I am looking forward to serving the community and representing VDOT in this role,” said Hall. “I plan to continue the momentum forward that the Hampton Roads region has taken over the past few years in transportation.”
Hall earned a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from the Virginia Military Institute, a master’s degree in civil engineering from Pennsylvania State University and a master’s in strategic studies from the United States Army War College.
Hall joins VDOT on April 18 following Jim Utterback’s selection as project director for the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Expansion Project.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Governor Designates April As Highway Safety Month

RICHMOND – Gov. Ralph Northam today designated April in Virginia as Highway Safety Month. With highway fatalities alarmingly on the rise in the commonwealth and nationwide, Gov. Northam called on his public safety and transportation agencies to coordinate efforts to elevate awareness to save lives.   
In 2017, 843 people died on Virginia’s roadways, a 20 percent increase over the commonwealth’s low of 700 highway deaths in 2014.
"The month of April is our opportunity as a commonwealth to recommit ourselves to making sure that every one who uses our roads gets where they’re going safely," said Gov. Northam. "We can all work to decrease deaths on our roadways by making conscious decisions to obey traffic laws and being mindful of the consequences of dangerous decisions. The only acceptable number of highway deaths is zero.”
During each week in April, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), and Virginia State Police will work with the commonwealth’s vast network of safety partners to call the public’s attention to behaviors that lead to crashes, injuries, and fatalities. The coordinated, high-visibility effort will remind all Virginians how to stay safe while in vehicles, on motorcycles and bicycles, and when walking or running.
“Last year, 114 pedestrians were killed in Virginia. As motorists and pedestrians, we need to be mindful and respectful of each other by sharing the road,” said Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran. “These are tragedies that are completely preventable. During the first week in April, through radio, television, social media, and scheduled programs, we will focus attention on road users that state data indicates are particularly vulnerable – pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists.”
In 2017, Virginia recorded 26,000 crashes resulting in 208 deaths stemming from some sort of driver inattention behind the wheel. 
“Texting while driving, although against Virginia law, continues to be one of the leading factors in distracted driving crashes, and is one of the most visible unsafe motorist behaviors,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “While a driver is distracted, he or she may not be able to react to a changing environment on the road.”
April 9 through 14 is Work Zone Safety Awareness Week. VDOT has planned a series of activities to remind motorists to slow down in work zones and that safety is everyone’s responsibility. April is also national Distracted Driving Awareness Month and Virginia will announce the winner of DMV’s Take Action Against Distraction license plate design contest for high school students. Distracted driving is an increasing threat to road users. The Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance and Drive Smart Virginia are partnering on statewide radio commercials to raise awareness of distracted driving.
The final week of the month will focus on the critical importance of seatbelt usage, maintaining safe speeds, and driving sober.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Learn About Speed Limits

Why Are There Speed Limits?

Speed regulations and speed limits are intended to supplement motorists' judgment in determining speeds that are reasonable and proper for particular weather and road conditions.
Limits are imposed to assist enforcement personnel and to promote better traffic flow by reducing the wide variance in speeds.

Who Sets These Limits?

Virginia's General Assembly establishes statewide maximum statutory limits and has granted authority to the commonwealth transportation commissioner, who heads the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), and to cities and certain counties and towns to establish speed limits that do not exceed the maximum allowed by law for highways under their jurisdictions.

How Are Speed Limits Determined?

Speed limits are based on an engineering study that considers various factors that affect the safe and appropriate speed.
A primary consideration is the speed characteristics, particularly the prevailing (free-flowing) speed, of vehicles on the roadway.  
Experience has shown that motorists tend to drive at the speed they perceive as appropriate for the conditions of the roadway, rather than the posted speed limit.
Absent undue enforcement, posted speed limits that are set much lower than the prevailing speeds will not be obeyed by motorists.
The engineering study also considers other factors that provide additional indications of the appropriate speed limit.
These include:
  • The physical characteristics of the road such as geometry, lane and shoulder widths
  • The nature of traffic on the roadway such as the volume and type of vehicles
  • The commercial and residential development along the road
  • The related traffic; pedestrian activity, and the historical number and type of crashes
In addition, appropriate information from law enforcement, as well as consensus with the speed limit recommendation, is sought.

What Are The Speed Limits For Roads That Are Not Posted?

The speed limit for most business and residential areas is 25 mph. On secondary roads (those routes numbered 600 and above, with one exception), the limits are 45 mph for trucks and 55 mph for other vehicles.
A maximum speed limit of 35 mph applies to all unpaved roads statewide.The road does not have to be posted.

How Can I Get Motorists To Slow Down In My Neighborhood?

Many people assume that reducing a speed limit will cause speeding motorists to slow down, but studies have shown that motorists tend to drive at the speed they perceive appropriate for the conditions of the roadway.
When determining speed limits, engineers attempt to set a realistic limit that the majority of drivers will obey and that can be reasonably enforced.
Contact the state police or your local police if motorists are traveling at speeds higher than what is posted.

How Can I Get A Speed Limit Lowered Or Raised?

If you feel there is a need to change a current speed limit or if you have other questions, contact the resident maintenance engineer or manager at your local VDOT office.

Why Aren’t All Interstate Speed Limits 70 mph?

In urban areas, heavier traffic volumes and a higher number of interchanges dictate lower vehicle speeds and indicate the need to set speed limits below the maximum allowable 70 mph set by law.
In rural areas, where lower traffic volumes and fewer interchanges allow for higher speeds, limits are set at the maximum allowable 70 mph.

How Can I Get More Information?

For more details about speed limits, consult the Virginia Driver's Manual published by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.
This information is not intended to replace the laws of Virginia relating to speed limits. For specific questions, refer to Chapters 46.2-870 through 46.2-878 and 46.2-1300 of the Code of Virginia (1950) as amended.

Monday, March 26, 2018

VDOT Will Lift Lane Closures for Easter Travel

RICHMOND, Va. – Are you planning to travel over the Easter holiday? The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is reminding motorists to put safety first, during holiday trips and throughout the year.
VDOT is also working to make Easter travel easier; most highway work zones will be suspended and most lane closures will be lifted on interstates and other major roads in Virginia from noon Friday, March 30 until noon Tuesday, April 3.
While the lane closure lift is in effect for most areas, motorists may encounter semi-permanent work zones that remain in place during this time. A full listing of those lane closures can be found on VDOT’s website.
When behind the wheel, remember that driver behavior can impact not only drivers and their passengers, but also others using the roadway. Do your part in making travel safer for all:
  • Always wear a seatbelt
  • Don’t text while driving
  • If you are drowsy, take a break
  • Avoid distractions
VDOT’s 511 app offers information about construction, traffic, incidents and congestion as well as access to traffic cameras, weather and more. The free mobile VDOT 511 app is available online. Traffic information is also available at 511Virginia.org, or by calling 511 from any phone.
To report a road problem or get answers to your transportation questions, call VDOT’s Customer Service Center at 800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623) around the clock.
  • I-64/I-264/I-564 HOV diamond lanes: Normal operating schedule/restrictions in place for the HOV lanes and the Express Lanes on Friday, March 30 through Saturday, March 31 and Monday, April 2 through Tuesday, April 3. On Sunday, April 1, there will be no HOV restrictions or Express Lane tolls, and HOV restrictions will be lifted on all HOV diamond lanes.­­
  • I-64 Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) – Local traffic to Virginia Beach is encouraged to use the I-664 Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel (MMMBT) as an alternative to the HRBT. If traveling to Virginia Beach, take I-664 south to the MMMBT. Then take the Portsmouth/Norfolk exit (exit 15A) to I-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.

Monday, March 19, 2018

VDOT Helping Keep the Eastern Shore Clean

Three Firms Interested In Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Expansion

SUFFOLK- Three private-sector teams are competing for a chance to deliver the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Expansion Project.   The three submitted Statements of Qualifications that could advance them to the next review stage.            
On March 2, 2018, the Virginia Department of Transportation received Statements of Qualifications (SOQs) from the following teams outlining their qualifications, capabilities, technical approaches and key personnel for the project:
Design-Build Teams listed in alphabetical order:
Hampton Roads Capacity Constructors (HRCC) comprised of Fluor Incorporated and Lane Construction Company (lead contractors), Traylor and Bouygues (tunnel contractors) with AECOM (lead designer).
Hampton Roads Connector Partners (HRCP) with Dragados USA, Vinci, and Dodin Campenon Bernard (contractors) and HDR and Mott MacDonald (lead designers).
Skanska Kiewit (lead contractors), WSP (lead designer) and design support from COWI, VHB and Capita.
The teams’ qualifications included their experience on complex highway projects and tunnel projects, safety records, financial statements and ability to address project challenges.
Responses covered both the bored-tunnel and immersed-tube-tunnel construction methods.
Next, VDOT will evaluate the SOQs for conformance to the qualifications criteria and shortlisted teams are scheduled to be announced in April 2018.   The shortlisted teams will develop their preliminary design concepts and submit technical and financial proposals in fall 2018.
Contract award is anticipated in early 2019 with project completion targeted in 2024.
The HRBT Expansion will build a new bridge-tunnel and widen the four-lane segments of I-64 in Hampton and Norfolk to ease congestion between the Peninsula and South Hampton Roads.
The corridor is vital to Virginia’s economy, military readiness and regional connectivity. Traffic on the HRBT’s existing four lanes exceeds 100,000 vehicles per day during peak summer traffic.
The majority of project funding will be provided by the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission (HRTAC), with federal support and other resources anticipated.
More information about the HRBT Expansion is available at www.HRBTexpansion.org

Friday, March 9, 2018

Transportation Board Approves Contracts Worth $167.5 Million

RICHMOND, Virginia – The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) approved 23 contracts at their monthly meeting Wednesday totaling $167.5 million for projects and paving in the Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT) Culpeper, Fredericksburg, Lynchburg, Northern Virginia, Richmond, Salem and Staunton districts.
  • Warrenton Southern Exchange Project will increase safety and reduce congestion in VDOT’s Culpeper District
A $19.6 million contract was awarded to Shirley Contracting Co. LLC of Lorton to design and build a new interchange in Fauquier County where Route 15 / 17 / 29 intersects Business Route 15 / 17 / 29 to the west, and Lord Fairfax Drive (Route 808) to the east.
The new interchange is needed to increase overall safety and improve traffic flow.
The project is expected to be complete in fall 2020.
  • Lynchburg District Project will complete final phase of Odd Fellows Road Interchange and Improvement Project
An $8.7 million contract was awarded to W.C. English Inc. of Lynchburg to reconstruct Odd Fellows Road from Mayflower Drive to Business Route 29 (Lynchburg Expressway), to result in a road with one lane in each direction and a two-way turn lane in the center.
The project, in the city of Lynchburg, will also replace a bridge over the railroad, and include the construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Odd Fellows Road and Albert Lankford Road/Murray Place.
This is the second and final phase of the Odd Fellows Road Interchange and Improvement Project, and is funded through SMART SCALE. Expected completion is in late fall 2019.
  • Paving will be completed in seven VDOT districts
Twenty-one contracts totaling $139.2 million were awarded for paving in VDOT’s Culpeper, Fredericksburg, Lynchburg, Northern Virginia, Richmond, Salem and Staunton districts.
The following chart tracks the dollar amount of major contracts the CTB has awarded in calendar year 2018:
In advance of each CTB meeting, VDOT Commissioner Stephen C. Brich also approves contracts up to $5 million in value. From the Dec. 20, 2017 bid letting, the commissioner approved 38 contracts worth approximately $55.5 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:

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Utterback To Lead Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Expansion

RICHMOND - Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Commissioner Stephen C. Brich today announced that Hampton Roads District Administrator Jim Utterback will take on the role of Project Director for the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) Expansion Project – the largest transportation project in Virginia in a corridor vital to the commonwealth’s economy, military readiness and regional connectivity. 
“Jim Utterback has a proven record in successfully leading major construction projects for VDOT,” said Commissioner Brich. “His experience in transportation development and project management is invaluable to what will be one of the largest infrastructure projects in the nation. The complexity of this project warrants a director of Jim’s caliber. His management of VDOT’s Hampton Roads District combined with his skill sets make him the right person for the job. I have the utmost confidence that with Jim at the helm, VDOT will successfully deliver the HRBT Expansion Project and bring much needed congestion relief to Hampton Roads.” 
Utterback has more than 30 years of experience managing large scale projects in military, private and state organizations. He was selected to lead VDOT’s Hampton Roads District in 2013.  Since then, Utterback has lead the development of a construction program that now exceeds $1.2 billion including the $409 million Interstate 64 High Rise Bridge, VDOT’s largest design-build project, and four additional interstate construction projects each with a contract value over $100 million. The District recently marked the opening of the $94 million I-64 Peninsula Widening Segment I Project, which went from initiation to completion in less than four years.
Utterback earned a master’s degree in business from Webster University and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Virginia Military Institute.
The HRBT Expansion Project will build another bridge-tunnel and widen the four-lane segments of Interstate 64 in Hampton and Norfolk to ease daily congestion between the Peninsula and South Hampton Roads. Traffic on the HRBT’s existing four lanes exceeds 100,000 vehicles per day during peak summer traffic.
Utterback will transition into his new role in the coming months. VDOT will soon begin the task of finding Utterback’s replacement with a nationwide search for a new Hampton Roads District Administrator. 
For more information on the HRBT Expansion Project, visit http://www.virginiadot.org/hrbt/default.asp.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

LTAP Presents: Public Works Maintenance and Safety Program

Virginia LTAP recently held it's first Public Works Maintenance and Safety Program in Virginia Beach.  The workshop included students from Hampton Roads, Petersburg and as far away as Lynchburg.
What is the Public Works Maintenance and Safety Program?
We asked public works managers across Virginia for their input on the most important and urgent maintenance and safety issues to keep workers and work zones safe. With their input, we’ve created a two-day maintenance and safety training workshop specifically for public works employees covering everything from basic roadside safety to work zone hazards to storm preparations. If you’re a streets, roads or parks maintenance or transportation employee, you’ll want to attend one of the workshops to sharpen your safety awareness and hone your maintenance skills.
Taught through a series of modules, each section provides opportunities for group discussion around practical examples and real world scenarios.
All sessions are conducted in the classroom over two days. Modules include:
  • Roadside Maintenance Safety (work zone hazards, power lines, power tools, heavy equipment operations, mowing/chainsaw and tree work)
  • Excavating and trenching (work zone set-up, underground utilities, backhoe and excavator operations safety, cave-in prevention)                                                                       
  • Road and Bridge Safety (temporary traffic control, flagger safety, fall hazards, winter road and bridge maintenance)
  • Storm Preparations (disaster and emergency preparations, forecasting and weather resources, equipment and supplies)
The cost for the 2-day workshop is $225 for local government employees including breakfast and lunch both days.


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

UVA TTA March Workshop Update

Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP)

VDOT Develops Statewide Planning Strategies to
Reduce Pedestrian Fatalities

VA LTAP Offers STEP Workshops Across the Commonwealth
March 6, 7, 8 and April 10,11
Check for a location near you
Click Here for More Information and to Register
Pedestrian fatalities in Virginia increased by 21% between 2012 and 2016. On a national basis, pedestrians account for nearly 18% of fatalities occurring in motor vehicle traffic crashes. To address these deaths, the VDOT Traffic Engineering Division is undertaking a statewide Pedestrian Safety Action Plan (PSAP), identifying locations with high pedestrian crash potential and recommending countermeasures and design policies to improve pedestrian safety across the Commonwealth.

Supporting these activities, VDOT, in partnership with FHWA, recently convened a working group, including members from local agencies and UVA’s Transportation Training Academy/VA LTAP, to assist in developing strategies to specifically address pedestrian injuries and fatalities at uncontrolled crossings and un-signalized intersections. At these locations, pedestrian injuries and fatalities are startling.

According to the 2017 VDOT Pedestrian Crash Assessment of Pedestrian Crashes that occurred in Virginia between 2012 and 2016:
  • 51% of pedestrian injury crashes occurred at mid-block crossings
  • 74% of pedestrian injury crashes occurred at locations without a crosswalk
  • 86% of pedestrian fatalities occurred at locations without a crosswalk.
The working group’s efforts are part of technical assistance from FHWA’s ‘Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP program, an Every Day Countsinitiative) that promotes the deployment of cost-effective pedestrian safety countermeasures such as:
  • Crosswalk visibility enhancements to help drivers detect pedestrians and pedestrians know the safest location to cross the street.
  • Pedestrian refuge islands to provide a safe place to stop in the median of the roadway
  • Road diets to reduce vehicle speeds and the number of traffic lanes, creating space for pedestrian facilities and shorter crossing distances
  • Pedestrian hybrid beacons to provide positive stop control
  • Raised crosswalks to reduce vehicle speeds and improve visibility.
VDOT is rolling out the statewide Pedestrian Safety Action Plan over several months this spring and expects both the PSAP and STEP action plans to be fully available this summer.

UVA’s Transportation Training Academy/VA LTAP will provide several STEP workshops this spring. Instructor Mark Doctor is a safety and geometric design engineer with the FHWA, providing technical services and training on innovative and flexible design and safety practices on a national level. During these one-day workshops, Mark will provide an overview of pedestrian safety issues and strategies to implement STEP initiatives and countermeasures. Each workshop includes a group field visit to evaluate a pedestrian corridor and develop recommendations for safety improvements.

VA LTAP STEP Workshops
Click on your preferred date to register

March 6
VDOT Maintenance Training Academy | Thornburg

March 7
John Tyler Community College Campus | Midlothian

March 8
Zehmer Hall, University of Virginia | Charlottesville

April 10
Williamsburg James City County Library | Williamsburg

April 11
Peninsula Higher Education Center, Old Dominion University | Hampton
Click on workshops for more information and to register

Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP)
03/06/2018 | Thornburg, VA

Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP)
03/07/2018 | Midlothian, VA

Bicycles & Pedestrians - Meeting the Needs
03/07/2018 | Roanoke, VA

Traffic Calming
03/07/2018 | Arlington, VA

Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP)
03/08/2018 | Charlottesville

Designing Pedestrian Facilities for Accessibility
03/08/2018 | Roanoke, VA

Basic Work Zone Traffic Control
03/13/2018 | Dinwiddie, VA

Intermediate Work Zone Traffic Control
03/14/2018- 03/15/2018 | Dinwiddie, VA

Traffic Calming
03/20/2018 | Midlothian, VA

Speed Management Techgniques & Applications
03/21/2018 | Midlothian, VA

Public Works Maintenance and Safety
03/21/2018 - 03/22/2018 | Thornburg, VA

VDOT Guardrail Installation Training
03/27/2018 | Fairfax, VA

Roadway Surface Management
03/27/2018 | Arlington, VA

Pavement Preventive Maintenance
03/28/2018 | Arlington, VA

Friday, January 5, 2018

New Gateway To Virginia Tech Open

SALEM — Virginia Tech in coordination with the Virginia Department of Transportation held a ribbon-cutting ceremony today to open VDOT's new diverging diamond interchange on Route 460 that will lead drivers onto Southgate Drive and into Virginia Tech or to the relocated Research Center Drive to the Virginia Tech Montgomery Executive Airport and the Corporate Research Center. The new interchange, only the second of its kind in the region, will officially be open to traffic December 14. 
“We’re happy to see this day for many reasons, including improved safety, a beautiful new entrance to our campus, and better access to the growing infrastructure that supports our vision for the university’s future,” said Virginia Tech President Tim Sands. “We’re grateful to everyone who made this happen, including past and present governors, legislators and staff, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, Branch Highways, and VDOT.  Virginia is very fortunate to have an innovative Department of Transportation that is willing to work collaboratively with institutions like ours to develop the future of our region.”
About the Project
The $46.7-million VDOT project replaces the signalized intersection at Route 460 and Southgate Drive at the entrance to Virginia Tech with a diverging diamond interchange. It eliminates the last at-grade signalized intersection on Route 460 from the I-81 interchange and the Town of Narrows. In addition, two new bridges were constructed over the Route 460 Bypass for the interchange and three underpasses for the trail network were constructed or extended.
When the new interchange opens, drivers coming to Virginia Tech from Route 460 will use the new interchange to access Southgate Drive. The existing signal at Southgate Drive will be deactivated and the ramps at the interchange will take drivers onto Southgate Drive. In addition, Research Center Drive will be relocated and extend to the CRC and the existing Research Center Drive will be renamed Beamer Way and will temporarily extend through to Innovation Drive until Beamer Way is closed at the Huckleberry Trail crossing in 2018.
Benefits of the Diverging Diamond Interchange
A new and innovative design, the diverging diamond interchange increases safety and moves a higher volume of vehicles without increasing the number of lanes. A diverging diamond interchange
  • Reduces congestion by allowing traffic to keep moving through an intersection
  • Improves safety by allowing free flowing turns when entering or exiting the roadway, eliminating left turns against oncoming traffic and reducing the number of traffic signal phases
  • Provides better sight distance at turns and fewer chances to conflict with other vehicles, which results in fewer crashes.
Driving through the Diverging Diamond Interchange
When driving through the interchange, drivers will travel temporarily to the left side of the road.
Drivers should
  • Proceed through the traffic signal at the entrance to the interchange and follow their lane to the opposite side of the roadway.
  • Pay close attention and follow signs and pavement markings that will guide them through the interchange.
  • Be patient with other drivers in the area.
Resources for drivers, including graphics and videos, are available on VDOT’s website at www.virginiadot.org/VTGateway.
Drivers can join the conversation now on Twitter by sharing their experience driving through the new interchange at #VTGateway.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Agency Seeks Partner Qualifications For New Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has formally initiated procurement and will begin searching for a private sector partner to deliver the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) Expansion project.
Following a briefing to the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) on Dec. 6, 2017, and concurrence from the Transportation Public-Private Partnership Steering Committee on Dec. 12, 2017, VDOT has issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for interested teams to share their capabilities and experience to best deliver the HRBT as a design-build contract under the Public-Private Transportation Act (PPTA). The current project planning estimate is between $3.3 and $3.8 billion, which will be refined as the scope is more fully developed.
The HRBT Expansion project will build another bridge-tunnel and widen the four-lane segments of Interstate 64 in Hampton and Norfolk to ease daily congestion between the Peninsula and South Hampton Roads, a corridor vital to Virginia’s economy, military readiness and regional connectivity. Traffic on the HRBT’s existing four lanes exceeds 100,000 vehicles per day during peak summer traffic.
VDOT will use RFQ responses to determine proposers’ qualifications to design and construct this complex project. For the tunnel portion of the work, teams may present their capabilities in immersed-tube tunneling, bored tunneling or both methods. 
RFQ responses are due to VDOT by March 2, 2018, with qualified short-listed teams to be notified in April 2018. These short-listed teams will then be issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to obtain detailed information on their technical approach to deliver the project, as well as binding price proposals. The RFP process is anticipated to start in spring 2018, with the contract award planned for early 2019. Construction is expected to begin in mid-2019 and reach completion in 2024.
The expanded HRBT will become part of a future regional network of Express Lanes, as presented to the CTB in July 2017, with free lanes remaining available to all motorists at all times. The majority of project funding will be provided by the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission, with federal support and other resources anticipated.
Further information about the HRBT Expansion, including procurement details and the project’s planning-level design concept, which will be refined by the proposer teams during the RFP phase is available at: www.HRBTexpansion.org.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

New Site Provides Information About VDOT Activities In Residential Areas

RICHMOND, Virginia – The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has launched a new website focused on providing information to property owners and residents about maintenance activities and issues that affect residential areas.
The site, VDOT and Your Neighborhood, provides details and expectations about maintenance work, as well as contact information for assistance when issues occur.
“We want people to know about and understand the maintenance work that goes on in their neighborhoods,” said VDOT Commissioner Charles Kilpatrick. “The information found on VDOT and Your Neighborhood isn’t new, but having these commonly discussed topics in one place makes it quick and easy to find answers when questions arise.”
The site content is based on the most frequently asked questions regarding neighborhoods. Included on the site are topics such as paving and pothole repairs, drainage, snow removal and claims. Information about speed limits, signs, residential traffic issues and more can also be found there.
The website also features a snowplow tracker map tool. This allows VDOT and contractor trucks equipped with automatic vehicle location technology to be monitored during snow removal operations, when snowfall reaches two inches or more.
“Sometimes VDOT work can be disruptive and unexpected,” said Maintenance Division Director Branco Vlacich. “This site will provide details about maintenance activities so residents know what to expect.”
As the platform grows, additional topics that affect neighborhoods and homeowners will be added.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

I-64 Express Lanes Tolling Begins Jan. 10

NORFOLK – The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will begin tolling the 64 Express Lanes the morning of Wednesday, January 10, 2018. During operating hours (5 a.m.-9 a.m. westbound and 2 p.m.-6 p.m. eastbound Monday through Friday), motorists will need an E-ZPass or E-ZPass Flex to access the 8.4-mile stretch of Reversible Roadway between the I-264 Interchange and I-564. Outside of operating hours, the lanes will remain free and open to all motorists.
During operating hours, motorists who wish to ride toll-free must meet the HOV-2+ (High Occupancy Vehicle) requirement and have an E-ZPass Flex transponder switched to “HOV ON”. To pay the variable toll during operating hours, solo drivers may use a standard E-ZPass transponder or an E-ZPass Flex with “HOV ON” covered.
 The 64 Express Lanes are designed to provide more choices for travelers while increasing the efficiency of the corridor for all drivers. Until now, the 64 Reversible Roadway has been open only to HOV-2+ during peak travel times. When the 64 Express Lanes begin January 10, it will be the first time solo drivers in Hampton Roads will have the choice to legally use the lanes as an alternative to the free general purpose lanes during peak travel times. Dynamic tolling, in which the price fluctuates based on user demand, is designed to increase the number of people using the lanes while maintaining minimum speeds to provide a more reliable trip for travelers.
 “We can’t pave our way out of congestion,” said Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne. “We want travelers to get the most out of the highway space we have available, and our data shows that the current HOV lanes aren’t the best way to do that in Hampton Roads. The 64 Express Lanes will offer solo drivers the choice to use the lanes, while still encouraging carpooling.”
 “We have been working to improve travel times and reliability for commuters in Hampton Roads,” said VDOT Commissioner Charles Kilpatrick. “The 64 Express Lanes will help us further that goal.”
 To assist with the launch, VDOT is extending the hours at its E-ZPass Customer Service Centers at 1701 Church Street, Norfolk, VA 23504 and 4010 Victory Boulevard, Portsmouth, VA 23701. The Customer Service Centers will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday between January 2-5 and January 8-12. Weekend hours will remain noon to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and closed on Sundays.
 Motorists interested in exchanging their standard E-ZPass transponder for an E-ZPass Flex may visit www.EZPassVA.com, call the toll-free number at 877-762-7824 or visit an E-ZPass Customer Service Center. The exchange is free. Motorists may also obtain a new E-ZPass or E-ZPass Flex device at one of our E-ZPass On-the-Go retailers, the locations of which are also available at www.EZPassVA.com. Please note that transponder exchanges are not available at the On-the-Go retailers.
 You can find general information about the 64 Express Lanes and a list of Frequently Asked Questions by visiting www.64ExpressLanes.org.