News Briefs

Crew Rescues Falcon

injured falconSept. 29, 2016: VDOT tunnel crews assisted with the rescue of an injured peregrine falcon which was sitting up against the jersey wall of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel's South Island during Wednesday afternoon rush hour traffic.

Virginia Beach photographer Tim Curtis spotted the injured bird and alerted tunnel crews.

Operations Program Manager.Tim Morrison, Tunnel Safety Service Patroller Adolph Bacon and Crew Leader Ron Varnell rescued the bird and wrapped it in a towel before handing it off to Curtis, who took it to a raptor rehabilitator in Norfolk.

Coincidentally, Curtis was returning from photographing the release of a bald eagle at Berkeley Plantation when he spotted the injured falcon while crossing the bridge

The bird will be taken to the Wildlife Center of Virginia in Waynesboro for later release.


VDOT Team Shows Skills on a Big Stage

Team VDOtSept. 27, 2016: Team VDOT made a solid showing at the Southeast Regional Equipment Operators Roadeo in Savannah, Georgia., on Sept. 8. 

Crew members displayed safety, skill and speed on a variety of heavy equipment during the annual event.

VDOT finished fifth overall among 10 states competing with motor graders, backhoes, tractor mowers, single- and double-axle dump trucks, and trucks with lowboy trailers. 

VDOT operators reached the top eight in all but one category, and here’s just how fierce the competition was:

  • Danny Hand of Bristol District was among 11 motor-grader competitors who earned a perfect score. He finished in sixth place – less than nine seconds behind the winner.
  •  The top 12 operators in the backhoe category earned perfect scores. One of them, Jeff Oczkowski from Staunton District, placed sixth – only 15 seconds behind the winner.

The roadeo is part of a regional conference that offers safety training and skill advancement for employees who work with heavy equipment.


Paving Map Recognized Statewide

Paving mapSept. 22, 2016: The VDOT ​​Northern Virginia District’s paving map (right) recently won a Governor’s Technology Award in the Information Technology in the efficiency driver category during a ceremony at the Commonwealth of Virginia Innovative Technology Symposium in Richmond.

The interactive map provides the public with up-to-date, transparent and accurate information regarding the location and status of work scheduled for paving contracts in Northern Virginia. 

It also lists a VDOT contact, as well as the contractor’s name for each project so customers are able to easily access them for more detailed questions.

“I’m proud of the team for coming together so quickly and making such a meaningful impact for our staff, residents and elected officials,” District Construction Engineer Bill Cuttler said.

“Residents can see more information and the right staff is able to answer questions much more quickly.”


VDOT Joins Others in Preparing for Mountain ‘Mayhem’

VDOT employees during tabletop simulationSept. 21, 2016: ​Fortunately, it was just a drill. But “Mayhem on the Mountain” is entirely possible, so more than 100 incident responders gathered Aug. 3 to make sure they would be ready for it.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management organized the tabletop exercise, in which a tractor-trailer jackknifes during wintry weather on Interstate 64 over Afton Mountain. 

An ensuing pileup involves dozens of vehicles along the eastbound and westbound lanes. The truck cab overhangs the bridge over U.S. 250, forcing the logical detour route to be shut down.

VDOT employees from the Staunton and Culpeper districts and the Northwest Regional Operations took part in the simulation. 

They joined representatives from law enforcement, fire and rescue, local hospitals and interstate maintenance contractors.

Reliable emergency communication emerged as the top challenge.VDOT representatives are working with other stakeholders to develop plans for a common radio system that would serve multiple agencies during a major incident.


VDOT Helps Louisiana Flood Victims

Louisiana flood reliefSept. 19, 2016: For Kimberly Leckner of VDOT's Fredericksburg District Right of Way Division, the devastating south Louisiana floods hit close to home.

“Seeing the mass effect of the flooding and the number of people affected left me hurting and wanting to do something for them,” the Louisiana native said. “Initially I was just looking to help out my family members, but then I figured why not help everyone who is suffering?”

Kimberly reached out to her fellow VDOT employees, with the Northern Virginia, Culpeper and Fredericksburg districts donating items such as clothes, toiletries, canned food, diapers, dog food, paper towels, infant formula and toys.

“The response from VDOT was so overwhelming and tremendous, but it doesn’t surprise me” Kimberly said.

Kimberly and her husband transported the Northern Virginia and Fredericksburg donations to the Culpeper District office, where Kimberly’s cousin collected and drove them down to Louisiana to distribute to those in need.


Page last modified: Sept. 29, 2016