News Briefs

Streetscape Enhancement Project Tour in Culpeper

Crozet street tourDec. 17, 2014: The Crozet community in western Albemarle County (VDOT's Culpeper District) had reason to celebrate recently, when the final phase of its streetscape enhancement project was completed.

A Nov. 20 dedication ceremony included a walking tour of improvements along three blocks of Route 240 (Crozet Avenue) from Three Notch’d Road to Tabor Street.

The tour provided a closer look at:

  • Bike lanes
  • Sidewalks and crosswalks
  • Curb and gutter
  • New storm drainage 
  • Street lighting
  • Landscaping
  • Benches and other street amenities
  • The relocation of overhead utilities

and the construction of the aptly named Library Avenue, which allows access to the newly constructed Crozet Library.

VDOT contributed $1.1 million to the project through the revenue-sharing and Transportation Alternatives programs.

At the dedication event, Albemarle County board member Ann Mallek said the project “will help foster economic vitality as well as preserve and accentuate the historic character of Downtown Crozet.”
“The project is a successful example of place-making in our urban areas, something that is very important to the county’s future.” said County Executive Tom Foley.


Holiday Spirit Visits the Gainesville Crew

workers receive cocoaDec. 15, 2014: During the first week of December, a VDOT Gainesville area headquarters maintenance crew was replacing a culvert near the intersection of Route 15 and Logmill Road in the Northern Virginia District.

As a car passed through the work zone, it slowed and a woman lowered her window.

The crew wasn't sure what to expect. But, instead of asking when they would be done, the woman thanked them for their work they.

About 30 minutes later, she appeared again. This time, she brought more than a thank you. She had walked a half mile (the distance to the nearest house) to bring the crew hot chocolate in the rain.

“This doesn’t happen very often,” said crew leader Justin Earhart. “But when it does, it makes you feel that you are making a difference.”

“We've had acts of kindness like this before and hope to keep doing our best to receive them in the future, said Gainesville area headquarters Superintendent Kevin Kraus.


Safe Routes to School Program Promotes Crossing Guard Appreciation Day

Crossing Guard Appreciation Day posterDec. 10, 2014: VDOT's Safe Routes to School program is celebrating some unsung individuals who make a big difference in Virginia’s communities.

Crossing Guard Appreciation Day is a statewide event devoted to saying "thank you" to those who help students cross the street safely on their way to and from school every day.

"While the Virginia Safe Routes to School program has designated the second Wednesday of February as Crossing Guard Appreciation Day, schools and communities are encouraged to plan a day of appreciation that works best for them to recognize the valuable role crossing guards play in making safe routes to school a reality," said Robert Williams, Safe Routes to School Program coordinator.

Crossing guards across Virginia can be nominated via a short online form. Crossing guards can include police officers, volunteers, or teachers who routinely help students cross the street.

All nominees receive a certificate of appreciation, but the most compelling nominees will be posted on the Virginia Safe Routes to School website as one of Virginia's Most Outstanding Crossing Guards of 2014, and will also be featured in the spring newsletter.

Please share this information with friends and family of school-age children. Nominations due by Monday, Jan. 19, 2015.


VDOT Unwraps Holiday Traffic Signal Timing

Dec. 4, 2014: VDOT's Northern Virginia District is going the extra mile to make holiday shopping less hectic.

Before Thanksgiving, staff began timing signals to help move motorists through major shopping centers around the area. 

Using traffic data gathered during last year’s holiday season, VDOT developed time- and location-specific signal-timing plans at 208 intersections.

“The goal is to accommodate the changing traffic patterns expected around the shopping centers as efficiently as possible,” said Operations Engineering Manager Ling Li.

Engineers will also use tools such as traffic cameras and traffic sensors to monitor conditions and make adjustments in real time, even on holidays, to help keep traffic moving in especially congested areas such as Tysons Corner, which recently saw the opening of the Metro Silver Line and widening of Route 7. 

Real-time signal timing adjustments will also occur in such locations as the Virginia Gateway Shopping Center and Fair Oaks Mall areas.

Holiday signal timing will be in effect through New Year's Day.


Celebrating the New Route 613 Bridge

new 613 bridgeNov. 21, 2014: Years of planning and collaboration went into the Route 613 “Indian Hollow” bridge over the South Fork of the Shenandoah River in Warren County. VDOT and county officials recently cut the ribbon on the new bridge and celebrated the partnerships that created it.

The structure is 14 feet higher than the narrow, low-water crossing it replaces. 

“The old bridge was under water for a total of 38 days just during this construction project,” noted Dixon Whitworth, Staunton District representative on the Commonwealth Transportation Board. “The new bridge height will let traffic continue and that benefits everyone who depends on this route.”

Indian Hollow sees a few hundred vehicles a day during most of the year, but it’s a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. 

The bridge is surrounded by a state park and a national forest, and provides vital access to a nearby campground, river outfitter, and public boat launch.

“I look forward to coming back and seeing the recreation and enjoyment around this bridge,” said Whitworth, “and I might throw in a fishing pole myself.”


An Innovative Replacement

new bridge being installedNov. 12, 2014: Hardly a week goes by without VDOT improving driver safety by replacing an outdated, structurally deficient bridge.

But the new Route 703 crossing in Augusta County pays homage to the original.

In mid-September, the Staunton District’s Verona bridge crew removed the 1915, one-lane truss bridge that carries Route 703 over the Middle River near the community of Swoope. 

Low traffic counts allowed VDOT to replace it with a new single-lane span of a similar design, complete with wooden decking and galvanized steel trusses.

The district bridge team also worked with neighbors and a local historical society to preserve the original masonry abutments and retaining walls.

On the afternoon of Oct. 28, a crane lifted the new truss bridge into place and crew members began securing it to the abutments. 

VDOT works to protect historic assets whenever possible, and the Route 703 bridge will serve as an example of that commitment when it opens to traffic in mid-November.


Page last modified: Dec. 17, 2014