Monday, September 30, 2019

Interstate 81 Advisory Committee Meeting

NATURAL BRIDGE, Va. – The Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) are inviting members of the public to attend the second meeting of the Interstate 81 (I-81) Advisory Committee next week.
The advisory committee meeting will be held Tuesday, October 1, at 3 p.m. at the Natural Bridge Conference Center, located at 15 Appledore Lane, Natural Bridge, VA 24578.
The I-81 Advisory Committee is charged with providing advice and making recommendations to the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) regarding the development of the I-81 Corridor Improvement program and updates to the I-81 Corridor Improvement Plan, as directed in 2019 Acts of Assembly Chapter 846. The plan was approved by the CTB in December 2018, following a comprehensive study of the corridor. The I-81 Advisory Committee will meet four times a year and report to the Governor and General Assembly each December.
The committee has 15 voting members: seven Virginia lawmakers, three CTB members representing the Bristol, Salem and Staunton districts and the five chairs of the planning district commissions. VDOT’s commissioner and DRPT’s director will serve on the committee ex officio in nonvoting capacities.
Legislation passed in the 2019 General Assembly established the I-81 Corridor Improvement Program, Fund and Committee. The legislation also provides revenues for the Fund through the creation of a new registration fee and diesel, regional and road taxes. Governor Ralph Northam announced amendments in March, providing dedicated annual funding to the corridor, estimated initially as $103 million in fiscal year 2020 and growing to an estimated $163 million in fiscal year 2025. These funds will support a $2 billion improvement program.
Any questions or comments about the I-81 Corridor Improvement Plan can be directed to  The meeting agenda is available for viewing.
For more information about the I-81 Corridor Improvement Plan, visit For additional information about the CTB, visit

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

VDOT Announces New I-81 Program Delivery Director

Following the Interstate 81 Corridor Improvement Plan and new dedicated funding as a result of 2019 legislation, Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Chief Engineer, Bart Thrasher, P.E., announced today that Dave Covington, P.E., will lead VDOT’s implementation of projects and initiatives identified in the plan. As the new Interstate 81 program delivery director, Covington will oversee corridor-long strategy and program-level consistency as projects and initiatives from the plan are developed, constructed and prioritized by the I-81 Advisory Committee.  
“As we found in the study, I-81 is a critical driver of economic vitality in Virginia, serving 11.7 million trucks and transporting $312 billion in goods each year,” said Thrasher. “Having a strong leader at the helm of project implementation across district lines will ensure success of our goals to improve safety and reliability along Virginia’s 325 miles of the corridor.” 
Covington has over 20 years of experience in the transportation industry, with diverse, yet vast expertise in design, maintenance and construction. Most recently, he has served as the Staunton District maintenance engineer. 
In design and construction, he has managed complex design-bid-build projects and large-scale design-build contracts, both with private engineering consultants to VDOT and as an employee of VDOT. Recently, he led VDOT’s $250 million Route 29 Solutions program in Charlottesville. Throughout the development and delivery of these major infrastructure projects, Covington utilized sound risk-management principles to ensure that projects were delivered safely, completed ahead of schedule and under budget, and that Virginia residents and taxpayers received good value for their investments. Covington will be charged with employing the same principles in managing implementation of the $2.2 billion package identified to improve the I-81 corridor. 
Covington is a licensed professional engineer in the Commonwealth of Virginia and holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Virginia Tech. He will assume the new role on September 25, 2019.

Monday, September 23, 2019

VDOT and DMV Notify Customers with Clean Special Fuel License Plates of Changes to High-Occupancy Vehicle Lane Use

RICHMOND – The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) are sending letters to over 16,000 Virginians with registered vehicles bearing clean special fuel license plates to notify them of two upcoming changes that will affect high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane access privileges. 

Effective September 30, based on a federal law which applies nationwide, most hybrid vehicles will no longer be able to use HOV lanes without the required number of occupants. Only hybrid plug-in electric vehicles will continue to be allowed access to HOV lanes without the requisite number of occupants. The rule applies even if the vehicle displays a clean special fuel license plate. Other alternative fuel vehicles with clean special fuel plates will continue to have HOV access. 

This fall, VDOT will be converting HOV lanes on Interstate 395 in northern Virginia to Express Lanes. The date that the lanes will be converted to Express Lanes will be announced in the upcoming weeks. Once the I-395 HOV lanes are converted to Express Lanes, all vehicles (except motorcycles and buses) will be required to have a properly mounted E-ZPass or E-ZPass Flex. Vehicles bearing clean special fuel license plates, like other vehicles, can access the Express Lanes with a standard E-ZPass or, if they meet the HOV-3+ requirement by having three or more occupants in the vehicle, can travel toll free with an EZPass Flex in the HOV mode. 

E-ZPass and E-ZPass Flex transponders are available online at and at many DMV customer service centers, including all 14 offices in northern Virginia. In addition, E-ZPass On-the-Go may be obtained at DMV 2 Go mobile customer service centers. For locations, visit 

For full service E-ZPass account management, the Woodbridge DMV Customer Service Center offers EZPass account set-up, account replenishment, violation processing and transponder return and replacement. Transponders can also be obtained at many retailers (Giant, Wegmans, etc.), online or by calling toll-free 877-762-7824. For more information, visit 

To learn more about the 395 Express Lanes project, please visit If you have questions about the 495, 95 and 395 Express Lanes, call the Express Lanes customer service team at 855-495-9777.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Expect Major I-95 North Delays at Fredericksburg on Saturday, Sept. 21 through Sunday, Sept. 22

Northbound travelers on Interstate 95 will encounter major travel delays in the Fredericksburg area beginning in late afternoon on Saturday, September 21 through the morning of Sunday, September 22.
Lane closures are needed for 18 consecutive hours of paving, lane striping and preparation to finish building the transition point for drivers to enter three temporary travel lanes for I-95 northbound in the median.
I-95 motorists are strongly encouraged to choose an alternate route to avoid delays, especially through travelers with destinations outside the Fredericksburg area.
What’s Being Done
Construction crews need to replace the existing I-95 northbound overpass of Route 17 at Exit 133 in Stafford County over the next 12 months. Two existing Route 17 overpass bridges – northbound and southbound  – are being replaced as part of the I-95 Southbound Rappahannock River Crossing project.
To build the new overpass, all I-95 northbound traffic will be diverted to travel in temporary lanes in the median, parallel to the interstate.
The weekend work zone during Sept. 21-22 is the final step before the temporary lanes open. When lanes reopen at 10 a.m. Sunday, northbound I-95 traffic will begin traveling in the temporary lanes.
Over 18 hours, crews will put down around 2,000 tons of asphalt and 20,000 feet of lane markings, and place around 5,000 feet of concrete barriers.
What Drivers Can Expect
Beginning at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21, I-95 northbound will be reduced to two lanes near the Rappahannock River bridge, which is located between the City of Fredericksburg and Stafford County.
I-95 northbound will be reduced to a single lane at 5 p.m. Saturday. The northbound exit ramp and entrance ramp at Exit 133, also known as a collector-distributor lane, will remain open. It will serve as a second northbound travel lane.
From 8:30 p.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, all I-95 northbound traffic will be diverted onto the collector-distributor lane.
Between 8:30 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday, northbound I-95 traffic can exit to Route 17, but Route 17 traffic cannot use the entrance ramps to access I-95 northbound. Detour signs for local traffic on Route 17 will be directed to use Route 1 northbound and Exit 136 (Centreport Parkway) to access I-95 northbound.
I-95 southbound will remain open in the Fredericksburg area during the Sept. 21-22 weekend work zone. Additionally, all I-95 southbound ramps at Exit 133 at Route 17 will remain open.
This work zone has been scheduled weather permitting. If the work zone is cancelled, it will be rescheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28 through 10 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 29.
Weekend Work Zone
Performing this work in a single 18-hour period, during mostly overnight hours, will avoid disrupting travelers over multiple weeks of evening work.
These hours were identified using traffic analysis as the least disruptive time for work to be scheduled. Accomplishing the work over the weekend avoids delays to weekday commuter and commercial traffic.
To encourage travelers to use an alternate route, VDOT will:
  • Lift lane closures on Route 1 northbound in the Fredericksburg area during the work zone, and along Route 207 northbound in Caroline County and Route 301 northbound in Caroline and King George counties
  • Adjust signal timing on these alternate routes to meet additional demand
  • Use overhead message boards along the I-64, I-95, and I-295 corridors in Virginia to make motorists aware of lane closures ahead at Fredericksburg, and encourage travelers to use Exit 104 (Carmel Church) on I-95 to travel along Route 207 and Route 301
Stay Updated
Real-time updates on this work zone, lane closures and congestion will be available on 511Virginia.
Download the free mobile 511Virginia app for Apple and Android devices to stay connected, or visit Motorists also can reach 511Virginia by calling 511 from any phone in Virginia.
Follow VDOT Fredericksburg District on Twitter at @VaDOTFRED.
Project Background
Construction to build the $132 million I-95 Southbound Rappahannock River Crossing began in August 2018 and will be underway through May 2022.
The project seeks to reduce I-95 congestion in the Fredericksburg area by providing local traffic with additional lanes to travel between the Route 17 and Route 3 interchanges without merging into the interstate’s general purpose lanes.
The Rappahannock River Crossing project will build three new general purpose lanes for I-95 southbound stretching six miles in the current median of I-95. The new lanes will begin in the vicinity of Truslow Road, just north of Exit 133 at Route 17 in Stafford. The new lanes will end 1.2 miles south of Exit 130 at Route 3 in Fredericksburg, in Spotsylvania County.
The three existing I-95 southbound lanes will be converted to carry those traveling to the Route 17 and Route 3 interchanges, as well as the Safety Rest Area and Virginia Welcome Center.
For additional information, please visit the project page on the Improve 95 website at

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Funding Approved For Highway Safety, Authorizes Partnership On Dulles Toll Road Study

At its September meeting, the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) approved funding to accelerate highway safety initiatives and voted to support an agreement with Northern Virginia partners on an upcoming Route 28/Dulles Toll Road study.
The CTB approved amendments to the Fiscal Year 2020-25 Six-Year Improvement Plan and initiated a systemic implementation plan to capitalize on available safety funds. By programming safety funds and optimizing funds provided on safety projects underway, the CTB earmarked nearly $137 million to accelerate key highway safety initiatives statewide, including high-visibility backplates, flashing yellow arrows, curve signs, pedestrian crossings, unsignalized intersections, shoulder wedges and  rumble strips on pavement centerline and edgeline locations.
“Ensuring that Virginia’s roadways are safe is our top priority,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “With funding allocated, these proven safety initiatives can be accelerated over the next six years, and are forecasted to save more than 60 lives and prevent over 1,200 injuries per year statewide.”
The board authorized Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Commissioner Stephen C. Brich to enter into an agreement with Northern Virginia partners to study Route 28/Dulles Toll Road/Dulles Greenway. Partners, which include VDOT, Loudoun County, Fairfax County, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) and the Toll Road Investors Partnership (TRIP II), will identify mitigation strategies to improve operations and safety at the interchange of Route 28 and Route 267 (Dulles Toll Road/Dulles Greenway), as well as analyze roadway changes, land development needs and projected traffic growth to develop a master plan to program future project efforts.
CTB members also joined Secretary Valentine in commemorating the 10-year anniversary of Virginia-sponsored passenger rail service at Main Street Station. In October 2009, daily round-trip service was launched from Lynchburg to Washington, D.C., providing intercity passenger rail service for the first time in the Commonwealth.
“I am honored to have been part of launching the first Virginia-sponsored Amtrak train in the Commonwealth in 2009,” said Shannon Valentine, Secretary of Transportation. “Standing on the shoulders of many, we continue to build a rail network that supports job creation, workforce recruitment, tourism, and business investment throughout our Commonwealth.”
In this month’s meeting, the CTB also approved two VDOT contracts totaling $17.8 million. 
  • A $10.2 million contract was awarded to Branscome Inc. of Williamsburg, to relieve congestion on Longhill Road in James City County. The project will expand the road from two lanes to a four lane divided highway from just east of Williamsburg West Drive to just west of the Olde Towne Road/Devon Road intersection in VDOT’s Hampton Roads District. The outside lanes will include extra width to accommodate cyclists. A 10-foot multiuse path will also be constructed as part of the project. Completion is expected in fall 2021.
  • A $7.6 million contract was awarded to Kanawha Stone Company Inc. of Nitro, W.Va., to reconstruct a portion of Route 622 (Lynbrook Road) in northwestern Campbell County as a wider roadway. The road will also be shifted north approximately 600 feet to improve alignment with Route 683. As part of the project, a portion of Flat Creek will be relocated, and a new bridge will be constructed. This is the latest project on Route 622 in VDOT’s Lynchburg District. Once complete, it will provide motorists with an improved corridor between the Bedford County line and Route 29. Completion is expected in late summer 2021.
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:

Thursday, September 5, 2019

VDOT Is Prepared For Hurricane Dorian

RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is prepared to keep Virginia roads safe ahead of forecasted effects of Hurricane Dorian. Crews across the state stand prepared to respond to any unsafe traveling conditions and damage resulting from the storm.
Coastal and southeastern Virginia is expected to begin feeling impacts of the storm beginning Thursday afternoon. Potential impacts from Hurricane Dorian include coastal and inland flooding, storm surge, damaging winds and prolonged power outages. Ahead of the storm, VDOT staff and crews are:
  • readying trucks and equipment
  • inspecting drainage facilities and clearing them, where necessary
  • planning for staff augmentation of Safety Service Patrols and Traffic Operations Centers for additional traffic monitoring, emergency response capabilities and assisting motorists in distress along major routes
  • lifting lane closures, where possible, on major routes in affected areas to keep roads clear for emergency responders and evacuees
  • notifying additional debris/tree removal crews to be on standby once the storm arrives
VDOT is working closely with local and state partners at the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the Virginia State Police ahead of the storm to plan and coordinate emergency response. VDOT is also coordinating with utility companies statewide in advance of potential downed power lines.
Preparation tips
  • Clear any debris from drainage facilities on your property to prepare for heavy rains.

Information resources
  • Get the latest road conditions - call 511, go to or download the mobile app at the 511 web site.
  • Report downed trees, hazardous road conditions or talk to a customer service representative – call VDOT’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623).
  • Statewide traffic information is also available on Twitter @511statewideVA.
  • For general VDOT information, follow @VaDOT on Twitter or VirginiaDOT on Facebook.