Tamara Rollison 804-786-2715
Feb. 14, 2012
Governor McDonnell Announces Safety Service Patrol Expands to Central Virginia Roadways
– Mobile units provide rapid traffic control on interstates during emergencies –
RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell announced today that the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will expand its Safety Service Patrol to provide traffic control and help clear incidents in the Richmond metro area. This vital public safety program, widely used in northern Virginia, Fredericksburg and Hampton Roads, will also include parts of Interstates 95, 64 and 295 in the Richmond region beginning in March. VDOT is working to expand this service in other parts of the state, such as the I-81 corridor, this spring.
"The primary purpose for the Safety Service Patrol is to keep interstate traffic moving," says Governor McDonnell. "These patrollers are trained and equipped to not only assist emergency responders with traffic control, but also motorists in distress. This is a highly cost-effective way to improve safety and reduce congestion."
Starting March 5, patrols will monitor the following routes from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday.
- I-95 between Maury Street in Richmond and Route 606/Thornburg in Spotsylvania County – this connects with the existing I-95 Safety Service Patrol in Fredericksburg and northern Virginia;
- I-64 on the west end between I-95 in Richmond and Route 623/Rockville in Goochland County; and
- I-295 in Henrico County between the I-95 interchange and the I-64 interchange east of Richmond.
These routes were chosen based on traffic volume, number of accidents and input from the Virginia State Police. Operation times and days may be modified to accommodate heavy travel seasons such as summer and major holidays.
Safety service patrollers continuously monitor their routes in VDOT trucks, detecting incidents and responding to requests for assistance from the Virginia State Police and local emergency responders. Patrols also remove road hazards, such as debris.
When not engaged in emergency response, patrollers help stranded motorists by jump starting vehicles, changing flat tires and providing limited first aid until emergency services arrive.
The total cost of the Richmond Safety Service Patrol is $2 million per year. A 2007 study by VDOT's research division, the Virginia Center for Transportation Innovation and Research (VCTIR), found the savings generated by the Hampton Roads Safety Service Patrol were nearly 5 times the cost of the service.
VDOT Commissioner Greg Whirley added, "The savings in terms of traffic delays and fuel consumption far outweigh the cost to run the program."
The Richmond Safety Service Patrol is an extension of VDOT's Richmond Traffic Operations Center (TOC) in Chester, which monitors travel conditions 24 hours a day on area roads. The TOC shares real-time travel information with motorists via 511 and www.511Virginia.org.
For more information about VDOT's Safety Service Patrol, visit http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/safetypatrol.asp.
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Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.