News Briefs

traffic gardenJan. 13, 2020: Students at Hollin Meadows Elementary School are learning the rules of the road in a fun and safe environment, thanks to the Virginia Department of Transportation's (VDOT) Safe Routes to School (SRTS) grant.

The newly-renovated Alexandria campus is “Planting Seeds of Bike Safety” by creating the first traffic garden in Fairfax County.

The roadway playground features bike lanes, cross walks and road signs that teach students about bike and pedestrian safety.

Students learn how to communicate with other drivers, how to yield to pedestrians and some even learn how to ride a bike for the first time.

VIDEO: Students at Hollin Meadows share their experiences, including a blind student riding his bike with the help of a fellow classmate.

The project was funded by grants from VDOT’s SRTS and neighborhood and community services.

Educators are hopeful the installment will set a new standard for public school playgrounds in the near future.

Learning About The World Of Work

VDOT at The World of WorkDec. 31, 2019: Recently, busloads of seventh-graders poured into the Rockingham County Fairgrounds for the World of Work career fair to learn about a multitude of professions that await them.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Staunton District was prominently featured, with representatives from numerous divisions including, Bridge, Business Administration, Communications, Construction, Environmental, Equipment, Human Resources, Location and Design, Maintenance, and Materials and Operations.

The agency partnered with Blue Ridge Community College on the annual event to share VDOT career opportunities with 2,500 students from area school districts.

"Our partnership with Blue Ridge has allowed us to reach and network with a greater number of students from a wider region,” said Donna Brown, Staunton district Civil Rights manager. “We hope to someday see these students working for VDOT.”

I-81 Improvements Begin

Flashing chevrons installed on I-81Dec. 26, 2019: As one of the first Interstate 81 Corridor Improvement Plan projects to be completed, the Virginia Department of Transportation's (VDOT) Salem District partnered with the Staunton District to install 36 flashing chevrons and 40 static chevrons between mile markers 172 and 176.

“These curve warning improvements were identified and funded through the recent I-81 improvement plan,” said Gary Bowman, Salem District operations maintenance manager.

“These new signs are intended to improve curve warnings and mitigate crashes.”

Last year, the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB), Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment, VDOT and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation partnered to study the entire length of the I-81 corridor in Virginia and identified $2 billion worth of projects to improve the highway.

The CTB recently approved the addition of 31 projects to the Fiscal Year 2020-25 Six-Year Improvement Program.

For more information, visit the Interstate 81 Corridor Improvement Plan website at

Girl Scout Wants Drivers To Watch For Pedestrians

Maddie SaadahNov. 1, 2019: With the school year in full swing, drivers near Briar Woods High School in Northern Virginia are reminded to slow down, thanks to Girl Scout ambassador Maddie Saadah.

Saadah, a Briar Woods senior, wanted to raise awareness about pedestrian crossings as part of her work toward the Gold Award, the highest Girl Scout achievement.

“The idea came to me as a freshman when I’d see kids dart across the street to school among speeding cars,” Maddie said.

With the closest crosswalk along the busy Belmont Ridge Road nearly half a mile from the school, Maddie believed a lot of drivers were not aware that it was a school zone.

Ron Sutphin and Gill Mann from the Virginia Department of Transportation's Northern Virginia traffic engineering office answered Maddie’s call and, just before the first day of class, a paint crew installed two “SCHOOL” markers across two lanes of Belmont Ridge at each approach of Briar Woods.

“I think it’s going to be a great help and Loudoun County Public Schools believes it’s going to help,” said Sutphin. “Maddie is an inspiration to us all.”

Maddie and her principal are happy to report they have already seen drivers slowing down in the area.

Maddie’s final report to the Girl Scout council is due next fall and we wish her the best! Check out this video for highlights from the installation and Maddie’s heartfelt thanks to VDOT staff.

Page last modified: Jan. 13, 2020