News Briefs

First Responders Plan For Emergencies

Emergency responder meetingMay 16, 2018: In the wake of a major traffic crash or other road incident, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) works side-by-side with local and state agencies to keep Virginia moving.

The partners often make response plans long before an actual emergency. “We’re building relationships so we can improve communication, coordination and cooperation,” said George Johnson, a VDOT incident management coordinator.

George led a March gathering of law enforcement, tow operators and emergency responders who serve Augusta County.

The stakeholders group reviewed detour plans, hazardous materials response and joint training for multi-agency incidents. Those plans were put to the test just one week after the meeting, when a tractor-trailer fire shut down Interstate 64 East on a subfreezing morning.

While firefighters battled flames, our safety service patrol assisted local and state police with traffic control.

VDOT’s interstate contract monitors salted the highway as soon the fire was extinguished.

Enlightening Young Minds

Joe Ludwig and studentsMay 14,2018: Construction engineer Joe Ludgwig of the Hampton Roads District took off his hard hat and put on his teaching cap to explain the many career opportunities available at the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Joe, who oversees construction of the Interstate 64 Peninsula Widening Project, took time to speak to sixth-graders at Hornsby Middle School in Williamsburg during their school career day. 

Joe shared highlights from his career and explained how his job on the busy I-64 corridor will benefit future drivers.

The attentive listeners asked great questions and gave Joe a passing grade!

Putting Theory Into Practice

Bridge building competitionMay 9, 2018: More than 100 students and teachers from across Chesterfield, Henrico, Hanover and Louisa counties and Richmond gathered at the Virginia Department of Transportation's (VDOT) Central Office recently to compete in the agency's second Bridge Building Competition.

Students with a strong affinity for science, technology, engineering and mathematics worked in teams to build bridges ready for competition.

The event was designed to motivate and encourage students to explore careers in transportation, challenging them to develop and build bridges that represent their research and overall knowledge in the area.

Students were tasked with building their bridges with balsa wood and glue, and adhering to specific guidelines.

The bridges were evaluated for mechanics and strength-to-weight ratio by a team of VDOT engineers.

Participants were required to give a presentation regarding their bridge design to a panel of judges.

“My students enjoyed it immensely and were talking about ways to build a better bridge for next year's competition.” said James Wright, a technology education instructor at Manchester Middle School.

“This event makes a huge difference with the kids. Practical application of theory is, in my opinion, the very best way to teach and get kids excited,” said Dean McCarns, a parent of a student at L.C. Bird High School in Chesterfield.

Page last modified: May 16, 2018