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March 21, 2008
VDOT CELEBRATES SECOND PHASE OF INTERSTATE SAFETY PROGRAM
STAUNTON – The Virginia Department of Transportation will be hosting a tree planting event on Wednesday, March 26 at 10 a.m. at the Interstate 81 northbound rest area in Rockingham County near the Shenandoah County line. The public is welcome to attend.
Students from Turner Ashby Future Farmers of America, members of Scenic Virginia and the Virginia Department of Forestry will assist in a ceremonial tree planting event, emphasizing VDOT’s commitment to safety, is environmental stewardship and its regard for the agricultural heritage of the region.
The VDOT Staunton District launched a program last spring to remove trees close to the interstate travel lanes on Interstates 64, 66 and 81. This action enhances safety by removing fixed objects, which can increase serious injury or property damage in the case of accidents.
This spring VDOT continues the second half of this program by planting 2,000 seedlings in safe zones, replacing more than double the amount of trees that were removed in the spring of 2007. The beautification plan is ongoing to plant redbuds and dogwoods outside the clear zone.
The tree removal operation is one of several programs, coordinated along I-81 with a regional citizen safety committee, to improve safety along the interstate system in the Staunton district. Ramp extensions are currently underway in Frederick County and truck climbing lanes are scheduled to be advertised for construction in the fall of 2008. By mid 2007 safety service patrols were established along I-81 in Augusta County and along I-64 in Augusta and Albemarle counties and on portions of I-81 in Frederick, Warren and Shenandoah counties. Currently, at the conclusion of paving projects, older four-inch wide pavement markings are being replaced with six-inch wide highly reflective pavement marking material. At various locations guardrail is being upgraded to new crash standards set by the Federal Highway Administration. Rumble strips along the shoulder are also part of interstate safety improvements.
Garrett Moore, P.E. said, “We are pleased to enhance the safety of our interstate roads by removing trees close to the roadway, which are potential hazards in a crash. At the same time we have this opportunity to add to the long-term beauty of the view shed with the planting of these new seedlings.”
The VDOT Staunton district interstate system includes I-64, I-66 and I-81 in Frederick, Shenandoah, Warren, Rockingham, Augusta, Rockbridge and Alleghany counties.
Highway safety is everyone’s responsibility. Virginia’s highway safety partnership — the Virginia Department of Transportation, Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and Virginia State Police — challenges you to help prevent highway fatalities. Buckle up. Avoid distractions. Share the road. Drive drug- and alcohol-free. Obey speed limits. For more information on the Highway Safety Challenge and things you can do to avoid becoming Virginia’s next traffic fatality, visit www.safeVAhighways.org.
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.