News Briefs

VDOT's Salem District Received National Guard and Reserve Award

Award ceremonyJuly 29, 2019: To recognize employers who support National Guard and Reserve employees, each state’s Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) committee grants a series of Department of Defense awards.

Recently, Virginia’s ESGR committee awarded the Virginia Department of Transportation's (VDOT) Salem District their highest award, the Pro Patria Award, recognizing leadership and personnel policies that make it easier for employees to participate in the National Guard and Reserve.

“Receiving the ESGR Pro Patria award was quite an honor," said District Materials Engineer Travis Higgs.

“It helped me realize how VDOT’s support creates an avenue for talented individuals to pursue a career of choice, but also allows them to be available to aid when called upon to defend our country.”

The nomination was made by citizen soldier Donald Martin, who works in the district Materials office.

Emergency Encouter

July 16, 2019: The day started like any other shift for Northern Region Operations Safety Service Patroller Adrian Guziewski.

But within 45 minutes, he was faced with a life or death situation.

Responding to a seemingly-routine call for a pedestrian on the highway, he encountered a despondent woman who was trying to climb over and jump off of the jersey barrier on Interstate 495 East (Capital Beltway Outer Loop) onto Interstate 395 below.

The Springfield Mixing Bowl is a busy and chaotic location, and Guziewski's previous experience as a police officer in Poland kicked in.

He pulled the woman away from the edge and radioed in his exact location, all while soothing the woman, who didn't speak any English and only communicated with Guziewski in gestures.

Virginia State Police arrived and took over, and Guziewski quietly finished his 12-hour shift -- until his co-workers got wind of his good deed.

A tweet from @vadotnova spurred interviews with WTOP Radio, Fox 5, and even TVN 24 in Warsaw, Poland.

Helping The Chesapeake Bay

Saplings being plantedMay 3, 2019: Reforestation efforts in five locations in the Virginia Department of Transportation's Richmond District will improve the environment by reducing the number of pollutants that end up in surface waters, and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay, through runoff.

Recently, VDOT planted trees in five areas of state-owned right of way adjacent to entry and exit ramps on Interstate 295.

“Tree canopies intercept rainfall, which means it can more easily evaporate or be absorbed by the tree roots, reducing the amount of stormwater runoff,” said VDOT Project Manager Joe Parfitt.

VDOT is working to identify other areas within the Chesapeake Bay watershed that can be returned to forests or unmanaged meadows.

Once this work is done, maintenance crews will stop mowing. This is both good for the environment and reduces maintenance.

Parfitt noted any selected sites will be thoroughly reviewed for safety and visibility and motorists’ lines of sight will not be affected.

The selected areas along I-295, from Brook Road to Mechanicsville Turnpike, were tilled and then each location was planted with native tree species, such as tulip poplar, willow oak, chestnut oak, black locust, black cherry, flowering dogwood, persimmon and smooth sumac.

Page last modified: July 29, 2019