Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Public Feedback Invited On Interstate 81 Corridor Improvement Plan

RICHMOND, Va. – The Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment, the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation are developing a plan to study the entire length of the Interstate 81 corridor in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
As directed in Senate Bill 971 (now 2018 Acts of Assembly Chapter 743), the study team will identify targeted improvements along I-81 and potential revenue sources that could be dedicated to improvements. SB 971 was introduced by Senators Mark Obenshain and Bill Carrico, and supported by Delegate Steve Landes with budget language in the House of Delegates budget bill. 
Feedback provided by members of communities, industries and other stakeholders will be considered as team members study the corridor throughout the summer and prepare a draft plan report in the fall. The team and the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) plan to report findings to the General Assembly in December, prior to the opening of Session in January 2019. 
The public is invited to attend the first of a series of meetings planned and provide input to the study team as work progresses. The purpose of this first series of meetings is to gather public input on safety and congestion concerns on I-81 in Virginia.
The public meetings will be held from 4-7 p.m. on the below-listed dates at the noted locations. Presentations will be held at the beginning of each meeting at 4 p.m. followed by an open house through 7 p.m.
Wednesday, June 6, 2018Bristol DistrictSouthwest Higher Education Center One Partnership Cir
Abingdon, VA 24210
Tuesday, June 12, 2018Staunton District (north)Strasburg High School
250 Ram DriveStrasburg, VA 22657
Wednesday, June 13, 2018Staunton District (south)Blue Ridge Community College
Plecker Center for Continuing Education
One College Lane
Weyers Cave, VA 24486
Thursday, June 14, 2018Salem DistrictHoliday Inn Valley View
3315 Ordway Drive,Roanoke, VA 24017
 Comments will be accepted at the meeting or by contacting Ben Mannell, study manager, atVA81CorridorPlan@OIPI.Virginia.gov or by mail to 1401 E. Broad St., Richmond, Virginia 23219, or by phone at 804-786-2971. The first comment period will end July 31, 2018. Additional comment opportunities will be available throughout the study.
For more information about the study, or to view meeting materials, visit http://www.VA81Corridor.org. For additional information about the CTB, visit http://www.CTB.Virginia.gov/.

Monday, June 4, 2018

VDOT Releases Draft Request For Proposals For New Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel

RICHMOND, Virginia – The Virginia Department of Transportation today released the draft Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Interstate 64 Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT) Expansion Project. The draft RFP contains instructions to short-listed firms for developing individual approaches to best deliver the HRBT Expansion Project as a design-build contract under the Public-Private Transportation Act. The Draft RFP is available to short-listed firms and the public for comment at www.p3virginia.org/projects/hampton-roads-bridge-tunnel-2/
The release of the draft RFP follows the May 9, 2018, Transportation Public-Private Partnership Steering Committee’s determination that the procurement approach serves public interest. The next procurement steps will involve reviewing potential alternative technical concepts during the summer and fall of 2018, issuance of the final RFP in fall 2018 and awarding the contract in early 2019. The project team anticipates receiving technical and financial proposals by the end of 2018 and selecting the winning proposer in early 2019. Construction is expected to begin in 2019 and reach completion in 2024.
The HRBT Expansion Project will build a new bridge-tunnel adjacent to the existing HRBT, and widen the four-lane segments of I-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. 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 majority of project funding will be provided by the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission, with federal support and other public resources anticipated.
Once completed, the expanded HRBT will become part of a future regional network of Express Lanes, as presented to the Commonwealth Transportation Board in July 2017, with free lanes remaining available to all motorists at all times.
Further information about the HRBT Expansion Project is also available at: www.HRBTexpansion.org.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

New Director of Transportation Innovation and Launch of I-81 Corridor Study Announced

MARION, Virginia – Today, at the monthly meeting of the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB), Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine announced the director of a newly created Office of Transportation Innovation and the launch of the Interstate 81 Corridor Improvement Plan. 
Secretary Valentine announced that Lynn J. McDaniel has been named director of the Office of Innovation within the Transportation secretariat, effective May 29. The new office will reside within the Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment (OIPI) and will focus on coordinating innovation among the commonwealth’s transportation agencies including Aviation, the Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT), Virginia Space, the Virginia Port Authority, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the Department of Motor Vehicles. 
“We have chosen an exceptional leader to take the helm of this new initiative,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “Lynn McDaniel’s strength in technology management and business development will allow her to integrate government and private sector strategies to solve transportation problems and expand business opportunities.”
The office will work across Virginia’s multimodal transportation system to identify opportunities, coordinate research, and create an entrepreneurial environment within the transportation sector. Its work will include Connected Corridors, Data Analytics, Integrated Applications, and Unmanned Systems that span space, land, water and aviation.
McDaniel most recently served in leadership positions with Advantus Strategies LLC, WorldView Solutions Inc., and Virginia Interactive LLC. Throughout her career, McDaniel managed corporate strategic relationships and spearheaded technologically-based business solutions.
“Transportation is at a critical juncture that will require nimble navigation of technology and innovation,” said Transportation Deputy Secretary Nicholas Donohue. “Lynn’s combination of experience and business acuity will ensure continued success and propel our efforts forward.”
During the meeting, the launch of the Interstate 81 Corridor Improvement Plan was presented to the board. As directed in Senate Bill 971, the CTB, supported by OIPI, VDOT and DRPT, will study I-81 to identify priorities along the 325 miles and potential revenue sources that could be dedicated to improvements. 
“This corridor is critical to the economic vitality of the Bristol, Salem and Staunton districts, and to our entire commonwealth,” said Secretary Valentine. “The study’s focus on safety, reliability and resiliency is vital to trucking, business and manufacturing sectors.” 
“The I-81 corridor serves nearly 12 million trucks per year, which make up 42 percent of all interstate truck traffic in Virginia,” said Transportation Deputy Secretary Donohue. “As such a significant component of Virginia’s economy, this is a solid investment to make.” 
SB 971 was introduced by senators Mark Obenshain and Bill Carrico, and supported by Del. Steve Landes with budget language in the House of Delegates budget bill. The I-81 Corridor Improvement Plan will begin with public meetings to solicit community, industry and stakeholder feedback throughout the summer, with a draft plan report expected in the fall. The first public hearing will be in the Bristol District on June 6. The CTB plans to report its findings to the General Assembly in December, prior to the opening of session in January 2019.
The board also awarded a $21.3-million contract to Haymes Brothers Inc. of Chatham to design and build the two bridges that carry I-81 over Route 8, which includes ramp modifications at Exit 114, just south of the Christiansburg corporate limits. Project completion is expected in fall 2021.  
“The new bridges will replace those aging in this busy area,” said VDOT Commissioner Stephen Brich. “Approximately 37,000 vehicles travel over these bridges every day. By replacing these bridges now, we will capitalize on benefits that will accommodate the expected rise in traffic volumes - over 57,000 vehicles per day by the year 2040.”
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.
For more information:

Monday, April 30, 2018

Commonwealth Shortlists Firms For Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Expansion

RICHMOND, Virginia – Three private-sector teams will be invited to submit technical proposals and prices to design and construct the Interstate 64 Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Expansion. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has concluded its evaluation of Statements of Qualifications (SOQs) with the shortlisting of private-sector teams, with three submitting SOQs to the department on March 2, 2018, in response to a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) dated Dec.15, 2017.
 “These three candidate teams are strong contenders for the next steps in the competitive process,” said Stephen C. Brich, VDOT commissioner. “We are looking forward to learning more about each team’s specific plans and capabilities to deliver this vital project.”
The RFQ gave the teams the option of submitting an SOQ under both or either a Bored Tunnel construction method or an Immersed Tube Tunnel construction method. Both construction methods are currently under consideration by the department. The shortlisted teams are below in alphabetical order:
1. Hampton Roads Capacity Constructors
Lead contractors: Fluor Enterprises Inc. / The Lane Construction Corp. / Traylor Bros. Inc. / Dragages Civil Works Virginia Inc.  
Lead designer: AECOM Technical Services Inc.
Design support: Michael Baker International / Royal HaskoningDHV and Witteveen+Bos Joint Venture / Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers
*Shortlisted for Bored Tunnel and Immersed Tube Tunnel construction methods.
2. Hampton Roads Connector Partners
Lead contractors: Dragados USA Inc. / VINCI Construction Grands Projets SAS / Dodin Campenon Bernard SAS Joint Venture
Lead designer: I-64 Design Joint Venture (HDR Engineering Inc. / Mott MacDonald)
Design support: Whitman Requardt and Associates LLP / Harris Miller Miller & Hanson Inc. / Precision Measurements Inc. / AI Engineers Inc. / GET Solutions Inc. / Mattern & Craig / Athavale Lystad & Associates Inc./ Diversified Property Services Inc.
*Shortlisted for Bored Tunnel and Immersed Tube Tunnel construction methods.
3. Skanska Kiewit Joint Venture
Lead contractors: Skanska USA Civil Southeast Inc. / Kiewit Infrastructure Co.
Lead designer: WSP USA Inc.
Design support: COWI / Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc / CAPITA
*Shortlisted for Immersed Tube Tunnel construction method
All three teams will be invited to submit detailed technical proposals and binding prices in fall 2018 for one tunnel construction method. Further information on the procurement will be provided in a draft Request for Proposals (RFP) targeted for release in May 2018.
The HRBT expansion construction will build a new four-lane bridge-tunnel and widen the existing four-lane segments of I-64 between Settlers Landing and I-564, to ease congestion between Hampton and Norfolk. The contract award is anticipated in early 2019 with project completion targeted in 2024.
For more information about the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Expansion Project procurement process, visit: http://www.p3virginia.org/projects/hampton-roads-bridge-tunnel-2/. For more information about the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Expansion Project, visit: http://www.hrbtexpansion.org/.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Build A Better Mousetrap 2018



You can read more about the contest here.

And you can download your submission form here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Agencies Recognized For Safety Partnership; Contracts Awarded

RICHMOND, Va. – At its monthly meeting this week, the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) approved $20.2 million in contracts for projects by both the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) and recognized several agencies for work on Highway Safety Month, an initiative designated for April by Governor Ralph Northam.
“We are grateful Governor Northam designated April as Highway Safety Month,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “With 843 traffic fatalities in 2017, the numbers are going tragically in the wrong direction.”
Deputy Secretary Quintin Elliott provided an update on a partnership among VDOT, the Department of Motor Vehicles and Virginia State Police on highway safety.
“Crashes are on the rise in Virginia,” said Deputy Secretary Quintin Elliott. “Through media partnerships, social media and public service announcements, over 600,000 people are hearing these messages of safety thus far.”
Three contracts totaling $18.8 million were approved for projects in VDOT’s Lynchburg, Salem and Staunton districts. “These projects will provide vital new connectivity and allow for much-needed improvements to pavements and bridges in our western regions,” said VDOT Commissioner Stephen C. Brich.
  • An $8.4 million contract was awarded to Kanawha Stone Company, Inc. of Nitro, W.Va. to add turn lanes, sidewalks and bike lanes along a half a mile of East Main Street (Route 460) in the City of Salem, beginning near Route 311 and extending to Brand Avenue. The project will improve safety, access and traffic flow for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians. Additionally, a new traffic signal will be installed at the Lynchburg Turnpike intersection. Project completion is expected in summer 2020.
  • Funding for $6 million was approved for VDOT to conduct an environmental study of a plan to extend the I-495 Express Lanes by approximately three miles from the I-495 and Dulles Toll Road interchange to the vicinity of the American Legion Bridge and Maryland line. This northern extension to the 495 Express Lanes would help relieve a traffic-choked section of I-495 by providing more capacity, new travel choices and benefits for carpoolers.
  • A $5.3 million contract was awarded to Boxley Materials Company of Roanoke for concrete paving on the Route 460 east bypass in Appomattox, from just west of Route 26 to 0.3 miles west of Route 707. The project, in VDOT’s Lynchburg District, is expected to be complete in late fall 2018.
  • A $5.1 million contract was awarded to Lanford Brothers Company of Roanoke for routine bridge repairs and preventative maintenance in VDOT’s Staunton District.
  • In advance of each CTB meeting, Commissioner Brich approves contracts up to $5 million in value. From the February 14 bid letting, the commissioner approved 43 contracts worth an approximate total of $82.6 million for construction and maintenance projects on Virginia’s interstates and primary and secondary roads.
The CTB also awarded $900,000 in grants to support economic development through increasing industrial access to the railroad network.
  • SeaGate Terminals, L.L.C., was awarded $450,000, which supports the company’s $500,000 facility expansion project to increase the import and export of dry bulk materials at the company’s City of Chesapeake facility, which is served by the Norfolk and Portsmouth Belt Line Railroad.
  • The Buckingham Branch Railroad was awarded $450,000 to support its Doswell Transload facility expansion project in Hanover County. The facility will support Nestle-Purina Petcare Company’s $12.4 million factory expansion in King William County, a 40-acre plant site with an adjacent 486-acre leased clay mine site.
“These facility expansions are important investments for moving railcars and reducing vehicular congestion,” said Jennifer Mitchell, DRPT Director.
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:

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Transportation Board Invites Public Feedback on Transportation Projects

RICHMOND, Va. – The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) will be hosting meetings across the commonwealth and is inviting the public to share feedback on transportation projects that have been recommended for funding. Members of the community may participate by attending public meetings or submitting comments online, by email or mail.
Public comments will be considered by the CTB as it develops the FY 2019-2024 Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP). The SYIP allocates public funds to highway, road, bridge, rail, bicycle, pedestrian, public transportation, and transportation demand management projects. The Draft FY 2019-2024 SYIP identifies projects proposed for inclusion in the final program, which will be approved at the CTB’s June meeting. All federally-eligible projects in the SYIP will be included in the federally-required Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) to document how Virginia will obligate its federal funds. 
The public meetings will begin at 4 p.m. in each of the locations except as noted below (a formal comment period will be held at each meeting):
Monday, April 16, 2018Hampton RoadsHampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization
723 Woodlake Drive
Chesapeake, VA 23320
Thursday, April 19, 2018LynchburgLynchburg District Office
Ramey Memorial Auditorium
4303 Campbell Avenue
(Route 501)
Lynchburg, VA 24501
Tuesday, April 24, 2018RichmondHilton Garden Inn
800 Southpark Boulevard
Colonial Heights, VA 23834

Monday, April 30, 2018*Northern VirginiaVDOT Northern Virginia District Office, Potomac Room
4975 Alliance Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030 
*Meeting starts at 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 3, 2018StauntonHoliday Inn and Conference Center
152 Fairway Lane
Staunton, VA 24402
Monday, May 7, 2018CulpeperVDOT Culpeper District Office, Auditorium
1601 Orange Road
Culpeper, VA 22701
Tuesday, May 8, 2018FredericksburgGermanna
Community College Center for Workforce & Community Education
10000 Germanna Point Drive
Fredericksburg, VA 22408
Thursday, May 10, 2018SalemHoliday Inn Valley View
3315 Ordway Drive
Roanoke, VA 24017
Monday, May 14, 2018BristolSouthwest Virginia Higher Education Center
One Partnership Cir.
Abingdon, VA 24210

Meeting materials will be available at http://www.ctb.virginia.gov/planning/springmeetings/default.asp beginning April 16, 2018.

Online sources

You can also submit your comments by email or mail by May 30, 2018:
  • For roads and highways: Six-YearProgram@VDOT.Virginia.govor Infrastructure Investment Director, Virginia Department of Transportation 1401 East Broad St., Richmond, VA 23219.
  • For transit and rail: DRPTPR@drpt.virginia.govor Public Information Office, Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation 600 East Main Street, Suite 2102, Richmond VA, 23219.
For additional information about the CTB, visit http://www.ctb.virginia.gov/.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Christopher G. Hall Named Hampton Roads District Engineer

Christopher G. Hall
VDOT Hampton Roads District Engineer
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.

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 IMPLEMENTATION PLAN

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

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.

PATHFINDER BENEFITS

  • 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.

IMO BENEFITS

  • 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.

STATE OF THE PRACTICE

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.
https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/innovation/everydaycounts/edc_4/roadweather.cfm

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.
MAKE SAFETY THE TOP PRIORITY
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 REAL-TIME INFORMATION ABOUT TRAFFIC
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.
NORTHERN VIRGINIA HIGH OCCUPANCY VEHICLE (HOV) SCHEDULE AND OTHER INFORMATION:
HAMPTON ROADS HOV SCHEDULE, TUNNELS AND OTHER INFORMATION:
  • 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.