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, 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

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

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