News Briefs

Teamwork Required To Fight Heavy Rains

Route 460 collapseAug. 28, 2020: The Christiansburg Residency of the Virginia Department of Transportation scrambled to repair damage on Route 460 in Giles County following a slope failure.

"A slide underneath the roadway occurred westbound and rock, dirt and debris slid into the left eastbound lanes," said Resident Engineer David Clarke.

"Route 460 is a major east/west corridor for Virginia and West Virginia, but we had to close both directions for repairs."

In addition to quickly detouring traffic, crews had to clear debris from east lanes, build back the slope to stabilize the west lanes where the slide occurred and shore up the old east retaining wall.

The residency also responded heavy rain in several additional locations.

"Other parts of the area were hit with downed trees, damaged roads and more mudslides," David said.

The Route 460 Giles County repairs were completed in about six weeks and cost approximately $1 million.

The westbound lanes remain closed while new pavement markings are finalized.

Watch Out In Work Zones

Duane DrewJuly 17, 2020: Paying attention while driving is important, especially in a work zone.

It’s also important to pay attention while working in a work zone. You never know what might happen.

Recently, Duane Drew, a Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Richmond District drill crew employee, learned this on Interstate 95 in Richmond. 

“We had a pavement coring operation going on in the right lane heading north when an SUV struck the crash truck right behind us,” Duane said. “When we turned, it had come to a stop in the center lane.”

Drew, a 10-year VDOT employee, said his training helped him respond effectively.

“I went to see if everyone was okay, opened the passenger door and helped them and the driver out,” he said.

Shortly after getting the occupants to safety, flames fully engulfed the vehicle.

Drew hopes drivers take better care when they see the flashing lights on maintenance vehicles.

“Letting drivers know to move over and slow down is big,” he said.

“It’s important when drivers see colored lights on the road – red, blue or amber – they move over and slow down.”

Face Masks For First Responders

VDOT employees organize mask donationJuly 14, 2020: As COVID-19 spread across the United States, with increasing reports of cases among first responders, Ning Li wanted to make a difference.

“Masks are a primary way to prevent the spread of the virus,” said Ning, who is acting assistant state traffic engineer and traffic asset program manager for the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).

“With our police, firefighters and first responders putting their lives on the lines every day, we wanted to help ensure their safety.”

Ning and Enhua Liu, VDOT transportation modeler, started a call for mask donations among the Richmond Chinese American Community (RCAC) for local police and fire teams.

Within a few weeks, RCAC raised enough money to purchase nearly 15,000 masks from China, which were donated to public safety teams in Henrico and Chesterfield counties and Richmond.

A significant portion of the donation was funded or facilitated by VDOT employees.

“We, like many others, are just doing our small part to help the community to fight COVID-19,” Ning said. “Together, we will get through this.”

The deputy county manager of Henrico County, as well as the police and fire chiefs in Richmond and Henrico County, expressed their gratitude to Ning and RCAC.

Page last modified: Aug. 28, 2020