Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Commonwealth Transportation Board Announces Governor Northam's Executive Leadership Team on Highway Safety

RICHMOND, VA – Today, at the monthly meeting of the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB), Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine presented Governor Ralph Northam’s Executive Leadership Team on Highway Safety, announced the conclusion of the yearlong Interstate 81 (I-81) Corridor Improvement Plan study, and formally introduced the secretariat’s new Director of Research and Innovation for the Commonwealth.
The Governor’s Executive Leadership Team on Highway Safety, comprised of representatives from Virginia’s Departments of Motor Vehicles, State Police, Transportation, Health, and Education, will focus on shifting a positive travel safety culture to reduce roadway crashes and associated deaths and injuries. One of the team’s first initiatives, a Digital Town Hall, invites the public to provide thoughtful feedback on how to curb safety issues, including distracted driving.
The CTB voted today to approve the I-81 Corridor Improvement Plan developed by a study team supported by the Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT). As set forth in Senate Bill 971 (now Acts of Assembly Chapter 743), the study was to identify priorities along Virginia’s 325 miles of I-81 and potential revenue sources that could be dedicated to improvements. The study team established a portfolio of targeted solutions to improve travel on I-81 as well as a variety of funding mechanisms that could support the improvements. The team will now submit its findings to the General Assembly prior to the first day of the 2019 Session.
“The I-81 corridor is one of the Commonwealth’s vital gateways to economic prosperity,” said Secretary Valentine. “Our team is committed to value-driven multimodal improvements to increase safety and reliability.”
“Both the process and the final product involved broad public transparency and input, which illustrated the need and willingness to support this transportation project,” said F. Dixon Whitworth, Jr., Vice Chairman of the CTB and representative of the Staunton District.
In other business, Secretary Valentine announced that Catherine C. McGhee, P.E., has been named the new Director of Research and Innovation for the Commonwealth. The position will focus on collaborative efforts in innovation and research among Virginia’s transportation agencies, including the Department of Aviation, DRPT, Virginia Space, the Virginia Port Authority, VDOT, and the Department of Motor Vehicles. The position will work across the Commonwealth’s multimodal transportation system to identify collective opportunities, coordinate research, and create an entrepreneurial environment within the transportation sector.
“Cathy’s years of leadership experience and engineering expertise at the Virginia Transportation Research Council make her the perfect candidate to lead and coordinate Virginia’s efforts in this space,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine.
During the meeting, the CTB approved four contracts totaling $52.4 million for maintenance and construction roadway projects in the VDOT’s Richmond, Lynchburg, Salem, and Fredericksburg districts.
  • A $24.9 million contract was awarded to Corman Kokosing Construction Company, of Annapolis Junction, MD, to replace two bridges that carry Interstate 64 over Route 156 (Airport Drive) in Henrico County, part of VDOT’s Richmond District.
  • A $16.8 million contract was awarded to English Construction Company Inc., of Lynchburg, to replace a bridge that carries Route 29 Business (Main Street) over the Staunton River and Norfolk Southern Railroad in Campbell County, located in VDOT’s Lynchburg District.
  • A $5.5 million contract was awarded to DLB Enterprises, LLC, of Hillsville, to replace a bridge that carries Route 122 over the Blackwater River in Franklin County, part of VDOT’s Salem District.
  • A $5.2 million contract was awarded to Slurry Pavers, Inc., of Richmond, to provide resurfacing in various locations in VDOT’s Fredericksburg District.
Additionally, the Board approved a Rail Industrial Access grant worth approximately $231,000 to Superb Solutions for You, Inc., a start-up manufacturer of environmentally friendly water treatment chemicals that mitigate harmful agricultural waste, purify drinking water, and treat wastewater. The grant supports the company’s $2.3 million new facility in Sussex County and will allow it to import raw materials and export finished product by rail. Superb Solutions has also committed to transporting 260 rail carloads annually and establishing 25 new jobs. The two-mile track rehabilitation will remove approximately 884 trucks from Virginia highways per year.
Prospective rail and public transportation grantees can submit grant funding requests for FY 2020 beginning Monday, Dec.  3, 2018, through 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1, 2019. The application period marks the first year the CTB will implement the new project-based prioritization process for the statewide transit capital program known as Making Efficient and Responsible Investments in Transit (MERIT) and adopted by the 2018 General Assembly. It will also feature a revised allocation process for statewide transit operations funding based entirely upon service delivery factors. 
Additionally, rail applications will be evaluated on abilities to meet goals of the 2017 Statewide Rail Plan, support or advance design related to Long Bridge or the DC2RVA high speed rail plan, and enhance existing statewide passenger rail services.
Once the application period closes, DRPT will evaluate all submissions and submit to the CTB a list of recommended project funding in April 2019 for the FY 2020-2025 Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP).
Appointed by the governor, the 17-member CTB establishes the administrative policies and approves funding allocation for Virginia’s transportation system.
For more information on CTB meeting times and locations:

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

VDOT Partners with Environmental Council to Develop Resilient Stream Crossings

Richmond, VA – The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) today announced its partnership with the Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) to replace aging stream crossing infrastructure in Rappahannock County with updated designs to help the waterways and wildlife.
VDOT is accountable for many bridges and culverts throughout the state and, through this partnership, will replace two stream crossings with structural designs that mimic a more natural habitat for the Commonwealth’s wildlife.
“This project exemplifies successful collaboration to develop innovative solutions that address environmental challenges related to our transportation infrastructure,” said Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “The PEC was just awarded a grant to cover the cost differential of the sustainable stream crossing solution, which is important for the environment and the citizens of the Commonwealth.”
The PEC on Tuesday was awarded a grant worth nearly $200,000 by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to complete these stream crossing projects at Bolton Branch and Piney River. This work will leave the stream bed intact by constructing a three-sided, more open structure to provide a natural environment for fish and other stream wildlife.
“Virginia’s environment is key to considering any changes to our transportation infrastructure in the Commonwealth,” said VDOT Commissioner Stephen Brich. “Through this collaboration, we are able to provide the best solutions for both the environment and the infrastructure and deliver results that without each other, would be major challenges.”
The open culvert design enables fish and other marine life to travel through the stream crossing without impact. Conventional culverts can be restrictive and a variable in the Eastern Brook Trout’s population decline in the Commonwealth.
VDOT implements science-based solutions to avoid and compensate for impacts to wetlands and streams and reducing construction-related effects on the environment.   

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

VDOT Will Lift Lane Closures To Ease Holiday Travel

RICHMOND, Va. – To ease traffic associated with Christmas and New Year's holiday travel, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is suspending most road closures during this heavy travel period. 
VDOT will suspend several highway work zones and lift most lane closures on interstates and other major roads in Virginia from noon Monday, Dec. 24, until noon Wednesday, Dec. 26 and again from noon Monday, Dec. 31 until noon Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019.
While lane closures will be lifted in 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.
VDOT's online, interactive travel-trends map shows peak congestion periods on Virginia interstates during the three previous Christmas and New Year's holidays. While it cannot precisely predict when congestion will occur this year, it can help avoid travel when roads have historically been busiest.
Based on the traffic data, the busiest times will be midday to evening on Saturday, Dec. 22 and Wednesday, Dec. 26, with the most notable congestion on Interstate 95 south. During the New Year's holiday, the most notable congestion periods are between noon and 7 p.m. on both Sunday, Dec. 30 and Monday, Dec. 31. Some congestion is also noted in the afternoon hours of Wednesday, Jan. 2.
Holiday Travel-Trends Map to help you arrive to your destination
    VDOT’s travel-trends map can help predict when congestion is expected to occur.
Your behaviors impact others. Do your part in making travel safer for all:
  • If you plan to drink, have a designated driver or use a ride service
  • Buckle-up
  • Keep your eyes on the road
  • Take a break if you are drowsy
  • Don't drive distracted, and speak up if someone else is doing so
VDOT's 511 app offers information about construction, traffic, incidents and congestion as well as access to traffic cameras, weather and more. The free 511 app is available via the App store or Google Play. 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: HOV restrictions and express lanes tolls will be lifted on Tuesday, Dec. 25 and Tuesday, Jan. 1.
  • 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. 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, December 10, 2018

VDOT: Continue To Avoid Travel While Crews Clean Up From Major Winter Storm

Travelers urged to avoid overnight travel due to heavy snow accumulations and potential for refreeze
RICHMOND, Va. – As the major weekend winter storm begins to wind down, Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews remain focused on snow removal around the Commonwealth. This slow-moving winter storm dropped heavy snow at a rate of nearly two inches an hour in some areas across the southern and southwest parts of the state and frozen precipitation in areas east of Interstate 95.
VDOT crews continue work around the clock to plow roads in areas where accumulations have reached two inches or more, and treat roads with salt and sand to melt snow and ice.
“For your safety, we continue to urge motorists to avoid travel to provide crews and emergency service providers room to work,” said VDOT Commissioner Stephen Brich. “If we reduce travel and minimize the risk of crashes and disabled vehicles, we can help ensure that travel lanes stay open so that we can safely clear roads and reach those in need.”
Overnight travel will remain treacherous even on roads that have been treated, due to dropping pavement temperatures refreezing snow and ice on treated roadways.
VDOT is partnering with localities, emergency service providers and other state agencies to assist with emergency response and clearing roadway crashes and incidents, where needed.
What the public can do to monitor travel conditions and stay safe:
  • Track VDOT snowplows online through VDOT and contractor trucks are equipped with automatic vehicle location technology, and can be monitored to see general coverage areas. The website is activated at the local level, generally when snow accumulations reach approximately two inches or more.
  • Report severe road conditions to and ask questions of VDOT’s Customer Service Center team around the clock at by calling 1-800-FOR-ROAD (367-7623).
  • Find more winter travel tipsat

VDOT: Avoid Unnecessary Travel During Winter Storm

Watch for slippery conditions, heavy accumulating snow in parts of Commonwealth
RICHMOND, Va. – Snow has arrived in the Commonwealth, and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is warning motorists to prepare for heavy snow accumulations and treacherous travel as a winter storm continues across parts of southern, central and western Virginia Sunday. While forecasted accumulation totals vary, some portions of the Commonwealth could see over a foot of snow.
VDOT crews are working around the clock to plow and treat roads in affected areas. Crews focus on treating interstates and primary roads first, then major secondary roads with vital emergency and public facilities, and then other secondary roads and subdivision streets.  As drivers encounter slow-moving equipment such as snowplows, please slow down and allow operators the right of way.
If possible, motorists should avoid unnecessary travel throughout Sunday as the storm continues. If travel is a must, tune to your local weather for the latest forecast, and check 511 for current road conditions before getting on the road. Due to the timing of snow and below-freezing temperatures forecast for overnight Sunday, some treated roads may refreeze and create a hazardous commute on Monday morning.
What the public can do to monitor travel conditions and stay safe:
  • Check current road conditions and watch real-time camera feeds of major routes at, or through the free mobile app or by phone.
  • Track VDOT snowplows online through VDOT and contractor trucks are equipped with automatic vehicle location technology, and can be monitored to see general coverage areas. The website is activated at the local level, generally when snow accumulations reach approximately two inches or more.
  • Report severe road conditions to and ask questions of VDOT’s Customer Service Center team around the clock at or by calling 1-800-FOR-ROAD (367-7623).

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Virginia's Newest Official State Transportation Map Is Here

Virginia maps
RICHMOND, Va. – Adventure awaits Virginians this fall as the newest official state transportation map is fresh off the press and available at welcome centers across the Commonwealth. Created by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), the map is Virginia’s official source for updated information about roads and travel. The latest edition showcases Virginia’s treasured natural wonders and can be your favorite unplugged tool to navigate to your next destination. 
“Our state map continues to be a sought-after resource,” said VDOT Commissioner Stephen C. Brich. “We circulate hundreds of thousands of maps across the Commonwealth every year.” 
New for years 2018-2020, the map highlights Virginia Tourism’s fiftieth anniversary and features many of Virginia’s naturally-occurring landmarks. Several features include the Natural Bridge, known as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and a National Historic Landmark, and Luray Caverns, which is called Geology’s Hall of Fame. Great Falls, the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Burkes Garden, Natural Tunnel and Breaks Interstate Park, known as the Grand Canyon of the South, are also included. 
A map showing the state’s highway system is required by Virginia law; the first state transportation map was printed in 1922, before some roads had even been assigned numbers.
Today’s map features the latest travel routes to help you plan your next road trip. It can be found at Virginia’s welcome centers, and is available by request at rest areas and VDOT offices across the state. The map can also be ordered or printed from VDOT’s website

Monday, December 3, 2018

Governor Urges Virginians Take Action to Eliminate Roadway Injuries and Fatalities

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today urged Virginians to help drive change in the Commonwealth’s traffic safety culture by joining the Toward Zero Deaths Virginia movement. Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) is a national strategy on highway safety that uses a unified approach to change driver behavior and improve highway safety with a goal of ultimately reducing the number of traffic-related serious injuries or deaths to zero.
To launch the TZD initiative in the Commonwealth and mobilize Virginians to take action, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and Virginia Department of Transportation, with help from safety partners, created a new website at
“While Virginia recorded 843 traffic deaths last year, the good news is that 23 cities and counties experienced zero roadway fatalities,” said Governor Northam. “Still, there are too many preventable roadway tragedies—that’s why I’m encouraging Virginians take advantage of the tools available at to equip themselves with the resources and data they need to make responsible decisions while driving. Together, we can improve highway safety across the Commonwealth and drive the number of roadway deaths to zero.”
TZD is a comprehensive, collaborative effort of the Virginia Departments of Motor Vehicles, Transportation, Health, Emergency Medical Services, and Virginia State Police, along with local law enforcement, federal partners, nonprofit organizations, universities, and traffic safety advocacy groups. The TZD strategy employs “the five Es”—education, enforcement, engineering, emergency response, and everyone.
“The members of these organizations work together to educate drivers, make roadways safer, and enforce the laws. The goal is to change driver behavior to create safer actions and habits by people behind the wheel,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “If it were your loved one who had died in today’s crash, that would be unacceptable—so when you think of it that way, even one death is too many. We all must move the safe-driving message forward to bring the number of annual deaths to zero.” is a centralized, digital hub for traffic safety-related online content, providing information on healthy driving habits, traffic safety laws, and traffic safety data in easily consumable segments using graphics and videos. The site features links to more detailed safe driving information, such as the Virginia Department of Health’schild safety seat guidelines and the Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services’ GrandDriver program for mature drivers.
“Every Virginian deserves a transportation network that is safe, reliable, and efficient,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “Each year we see advancements in technology and education to improve safe driving. If we take advantage of the information and tools available to us, we can all work together to create safer roadways across the Commonwealth.”