News Briefs

VDOT Is Hiring!

UVa career fairSept. 18, 2014: Do you know someone who would like to help us “Keep Virginia Moving?”

VDOT Human Resources and Training Division staff will be on the road attending many career fair events all over the state from now until November.

“Recruiting gives us the opportunity to meet some extraordinary people and get them interested in starting their career with VDOT,” said Pamela Koger McElwain. “In addition, it allows VDOT to educate the public on the diverse things we do.”

VDOT has various job opportunities statewide as well as internships and scholarships for college students. Click on our link to see where we will be: VDOT Fall Career Fairs.


Young Engineers Gain Real World Experience

young engineers visit projectSept. 15, 2014: Most engineers will agree there is a big difference between learning about bridges and actually witnessing the pieces being put together. The Core Development, Engineer Scholar and Internship programs give college students and recent college graduates a unique opportunity of trading study sessions for real-world experience.

For six young engineers in VDOT's Northern Virginia District, a recent nighttime visit to the Gainesville Interchange Project in Prince William County brought the pages of their textbooks to reality.

The group observed the complex work involved with placing bridge beams over a railroad track in the middle of the night. “This was a great chance for them to see the challenges faced by our construction group in an urban environment and witness the hard work of the crews,” said Mitch Ball, Northern Virginia District’s project controls manager.

Engineer in Training Khanh Pham is a member of the Core Development Program, who attended the mission. “It provided a visual understanding of what is involved in bridge construction and an opportunity to interact with the people working on the project,” Pham said .


VDOT Keeps Shoppers Moving, Too

tysons traffic displaySept. 3, 2014: It’s no secret people like to make informed decisions about travel plans. Now,VDOT's Northern Virginia District is making those decisions easier for patrons of Tysons Corner Center in Fairfax County, the largest mall in the Washington, D.C., region.

Five screens originally used to relay traffic impacts of to the Interstate 495 Express Lanes and Metro Silver Line construction have been repurposed and serve as traveler information screens. 

The screens provide traffic information, bus and Metro schedules and real-time arrival and departure status, when possible, for locations in and around Tysons Corner Center. There is rotating real-time video from nearby traffic cameras.

“Our goal is to empower people to make choices – on how to travel, or when to depart,” said Amy Tang McElwain, Northern Region Operations project manager.


Booth a Popular Stop at CulpeperFest

expalining the roundaboutSept. 2, 2014: CulpeperFest is an annual event that gives the Culpeper District an opportunity to show off some of VDOT’s newest equipment, technology and other offerings to more than 2,000 residents and business representatives.

Drawing the biggest crowd at this year’s booth was information on the Route 229 roundabout now under construction in the town of Culpeper. 

Along with a large graphic display of the completed project, a Federal Highway Administration-produced video provided instruction on how to navigate a roundabout along with information on its safety and other benefits. The display saw steady traffic and questions from the visitors.

“Putting VDOT out there in that festive environment shows that we are engaged in the community in a positive way,” said Warrenton Residency Administrator Mark Nesbit. “The event allows the public to see our employees in a different setting and gives them the opportunity to ask questions and get good information about the services we provide.”


Bridge Inspections Aren't For The Birds

bridge inspectors at workAug. 27, 2014: You can’t drive to work, the grocery store or your child’s soccer game without crossing a bridge or culvert – probably lots of them. 

The Staunton District is responsible for approximately 3,500 of these structures, more than any other district. “Bridges are a key part of our mission and they’re probably the only federally mandated program we have,” says Barton Boyd, assistant district bridge engineer for inspections.

Five two-person teams visit structures that range from cramped culverts to multi-pier spans. Collectively the teams inspect approximately 2,000 bridges and culverts a year. Inspectors spend as much as half their time in the field, scrutinizing each structure for signs of weakness and comparing its condition to previous inspections.

The inspectors gear up for days that could include anything from wading in streams to latching on to a bucket truck. As they say, field work does have its challenges.

Sally Raynes is a team leader who’s been inspecting bridges for nearly 15 years. “This would be the perfect job,” she said with a laugh, “if it wasn’t for extreme weather, the snakes, the poison ivy, the ticks, and the big spiders.”

You can add hostile birds to the list. Team members Mark Craun and Matt Sprouse recently inspected a bridge that was home to several families of barn swallows. “We get attacked all the time,” says Craun. “Birds, snakes, bees – all sorts of critters.”

At right: Jason McCurdy (left) and Laddy Hostetter (right) of the Lexington bridge team inspect a Route 628 bridge in Rockbridge County.


Page last modified: Sept. 18, 2014