A Step in the Right Direction
Sept. 29, 2014: Put on your walking shoes, take your child’s hand and walk them to school on International Walk to School Day, Wednesday, Oct. 8.
VDOT’s Safe Routes to School and Transportation Alternatives programs provide a well-rounded approach to dealing with the issues that prevent kids from walking or biking to school.
“International Walk to School Day encourages healthy habits and entices parents and children to walk together when they might not have considered it,” said Rob Williams, coordinator of VDOT’s Safe Routes to School program. “Our hope is that walking to school changes from a once-a-year activity into something more frequent…once a month, once a week or even a daily habit.”
Over the years, Virginia’s participating schools have steadily increased from 10 in 2004 to an impressive 187 last year. The state goal this year is 200 schools.
The statewide program is funded by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration and works with localities, schools and non-profit groups to improve walking or bicycling opportunities for children in kindergarten through eighth grades.
For more information, go to http://www.walkbiketoschool.org/.
A Different Kind Of Diamond
Sept 22, 2014: A few years ago the term “diverging diamond interchange” was most likely met with blank stares and confusion.
Today, drivers traveling through VDOT's Culpeper District’ at the Zion Crossroads interchagne near Interstate 64 in Louisa County get to experience the first such design in the state.
The diverging diamond is a very different design than traditional interchanges and tends to raise eyebrows at first. The design requires traffic to cross to the left side of the road to allow free-flowing left movements. It is safer than traditional interchanges because it removes the need for left turns facing oncoming traffic and minimizes backups.
Through education and outreach, Culpeper District staff was able to lessen fears about the unusual traffic pattern. Their efforts are paying off.
“We have had little to no complaints or concerns about the interchange since it opened,” said Ken Connors, Culpeper District construction engineer.
VDOT Is Hiring!
Sept. 18, 2014: Do you know someone who would like to help us “Keep Virginia Moving?”
VDOT Human Resources and Training Division staff will be on the road attending many career fair events all over the state from now until November.
“Recruiting gives us the opportunity to meet some extraordinary people and get them interested in starting their career with VDOT,” said Pamela Koger McElwain. “In addition, it allows VDOT to educate the public on the diverse things we do.”
VDOT has various job opportunities statewide as well as internships and scholarships for college students. Click on our link to see where we will be: VDOT Fall Career Fairs.
Young Engineers Gain Real World Experience
Sept. 15, 2014: Most engineers will agree there is a big difference between learning about bridges and actually witnessing the pieces being put together. The Core Development, Engineer Scholar and Internship programs give college students and recent college graduates a unique opportunity of trading study sessions for real-world experience.
For six young engineers in VDOT's Northern Virginia District, a recent nighttime visit to the Gainesville Interchange Project in Prince William County brought the pages of their textbooks to reality.
The group observed the complex work involved with placing bridge beams over a railroad track in the middle of the night. “This was a great chance for them to see the challenges faced by our construction group in an urban environment and witness the hard work of the crews,” said Mitch Ball, Northern Virginia District’s project controls manager.
Engineer in Training Khanh Pham is a member of the Core Development Program, who attended the mission. “It provided a visual understanding of what is involved in bridge construction and an opportunity to interact with the people working on the project,” Pham said .
VDOT Keeps Shoppers Moving, Too
Sept. 3, 2014: It’s no secret people like to make informed decisions about travel plans. Now,VDOT's Northern Virginia District is making those decisions easier for patrons of Tysons Corner Center in Fairfax County, the largest mall in the Washington, D.C., region.
Five screens originally used to relay traffic impacts of to the Interstate 495 Express Lanes and Metro Silver Line construction have been repurposed and serve as traveler information screens.
The screens provide traffic information, bus and Metro schedules and real-time arrival and departure status, when possible, for locations in and around Tysons Corner Center. There is rotating real-time video from nearby traffic cameras.
“Our goal is to empower people to make choices – on how to travel, or when to depart,” said Amy Tang McElwain, Northern Region Operations project manager.
Booth a Popular Stop at CulpeperFest
Sept. 2, 2014: CulpeperFest is an annual event that gives the Culpeper District an opportunity to show off some of VDOT’s newest equipment, technology and other offerings to more than 2,000 residents and business representatives.
Drawing the biggest crowd at this year’s booth was information on the Route 229 roundabout now under construction in the town of Culpeper.
Along with a large graphic display of the completed project, a Federal Highway Administration-produced video provided instruction on how to navigate a roundabout along with information on its safety and other benefits. The display saw steady traffic and questions from the visitors.
“Putting VDOT out there in that festive environment shows that we are engaged in the community in a positive way,” said Warrenton Residency Administrator Mark Nesbit. “The event allows the public to see our employees in a different setting and gives them the opportunity to ask questions and get good information about the services we provide.”