VDOT: Response to COVID-19

Safety is one of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT) top priorities.

VDOT leadership is closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 and making preparations to minimize potential impacts to employees and customers.

Efforts are focused on the customers we serve, our workforce and access to critical supplies to help keep Virginia moving.

Agency leadership is committed to keeping employees updated on impacts and sharing communications on health and prevention based on guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Virginia Department of Health.

Employee Guidance

In response to the continued spread of COVID-19, Governor Northam has declared a state of emergency in Virginia.

VDOT will adhere to steps outlined by the governor and is implementing additional measures to protect the health and safety of staff.

The following guidance has been shared with VDOT employees:

  • Out-of-state work travel is banned for the next 30 days
  • Non-essential in-state work travel is banned for the next 30 days
  • Meetings with 10 or more participants are canceled until further notice
    • Employees are encouraged to leverage technology and utilize alternatives to in-person meetings
  • Employees are encouraged to telework

VDOT employees have received procedural guidance in the event of personal exposure to coronavirus.

Tolling Facilities

Virginia has 16 toll facilities throughout the state, of which four are Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) facilities. Most of these facilities rely on electronic toll collection, through E-ZPass or by capturing images of license plates. 

To reduce interpersonal contact at toll booths in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, VDOT recommends motorists use non-cash or electronic toll payment methods.

For the safety of the travelling public, starting April 1, both the Powhite Parkway Extension and the George P. Coleman Memorial Bridge have temporarily removed cash-exchange toll collection in response to COVID-19. Exact change can still be dropped into the coin basket at Powhite Parkway Extension. 

In an effort to avoid hand-to-hand contact, only $20 is needed to open a new E-ZPass account, reduced from $35, temporarily, in an effort to make it easier to get a transponder. As a reminder, the full $20 investment goes toward tolls.

E-ZPass is the easiest and most convenient way to pay tolls, and does not involve hand-to-hand contact. 

Starting April 1, if you make an unpaid trip on a Virginia toll facility, you may be able to pay the toll through the “missed-a-toll” process before receiving an invoice. Due to COVID-19, the standard administrative fee associated with ‘missed-a-toll’ has been suspended temporarily. The missed-a-toll payment process must take place within six days of the unpaid-toll trip. 

In an effort to avoid hand-to-hand contact, only $20 is needed to open a new E-ZPass account, reduced from $35, temporarily, in an effort to make it easier to get a transponder.  

Rest areas

Rest Areas

VDOT’s 43 Safety Rest Areas are open.

VDOT is taking extra steps to ensure its rest areas remain in proper condition to protect the health of travelers amid concerns of the spread of COVID-19.

We have increased disinfection and cleaning procedures.

We have additional supplies on hand including soap, hand sanitizer and disinfectant. 

a truck, for safety service patroling

Safety Service Patrol

The safety service patrol is VDOT’s ‘free of charge’ safety partner aimed to help with emergencies on Virginia interstates.

VDOT has engaged these partners on corridors throughout the Commonwealth with precautionary steps to ensure patrol and traveler safety related to COVID-19.

Some of these steps include: 

  • Restrict hand shakes and interpersonal touching
  • Maintain a distance of six feet
  • Ensure proper glove use outside of vehicles
  • Follow CDC guidance related to handwashing and hygiene
  • Clean steering wheels, door handles and other impact points before leaving the scene
  • Enhance levels and frequencies of vehicle cleaning

Ferry

The Jamestown-Scotland Ferry is currently operating at reduced capacity.

Beginning March 19, two ferries are operating during peak morning and evening travel periods (5:30-9 a.m. and 3:30-7 p.m.) on the hour and the half-hour.

One ferry will be operating at all other times, on the hour in Surry and on the half-hour in Jamestown.

Drivers and passengers are asked to remain in their vehicles for the duration of the trip. The ferry salon and restrooms are closed. VDOT will continue to monitor and respond to travel needs as necessary. Ferry staff are taking extra safety precautions, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces at least three times per shift. This includes handrails, door knobs and restrooms.

VDOT locations

VDOT Locations

Effective at 5 p.m., on Friday, March 20, Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) offices and other non-public facilities are closed to walk-in visitors until further notice as a precaution to help prevent spread of the new coronavirus COVID-19.

This closure includes all district offices, residencies, area headquarters and the agency’s Central Office in Richmond. The agency will implement a visitor-by-appointment process to ensure essential services and operations continue.

Page last modified: April 1, 2020