The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has numerous programs to ensure the future of the commonwealth's natural and historic resources.
This popular program provides an opportunity for families, businesses and civic groups to clean up litter four times a year for two years. In return, VDOT provides trash bags, vests, important safety information, and highway signs recognizing the group.
Cultural Preservation Program
This program concentrates on researching and preserving property of cultural and historical significance.
The Brook Run archaeological site was first discovered while conducting a routine cultural resource study for the expansion of Route 3 in Culpeper County. Dating back to over 11,000 years ago, the site was once an ancient quarry where Virginia’s earliest settlers extracted large rocks of jasper that were later fashioned into spear points, knives and other tools. Given the importance of this site, VDOT adjusted its highway improvement plans to avoid the most significant archaeological deposits.
Early Stone Highway Markers
Road stones are rare in Virginia and those in their original locations are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Statewide, more than 20 early road stones have been identified in the state right of way.
Through placement of nesting boxes on bridges maintained by VDOT, the endangered peregrine falcons — considered the world's fastest birds — once again fly high over Virginia's eastern seaboard. VDOT won an award for this program in 1998.
Virginia Rideshare Agencies offer a variety of commuting choices. VDOT maintains 107 commuter parking lots and was recently recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Transportation for helping Richmond headquarters employees commute to work without using their cars.
Scenic Byways Program
The commonwealth's scenic byways — distinctive routes with outstanding archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic value — is comprised of nearly 3,000 miles of roads.
Transportation Enhancement Program
The Transportation Enhancement Program fosters more choices for travel by providing funding for sidewalks, bike lanes, and the conversion of abandoned railroad corridors into trails. Many communities also use the program to acquire, restore and preserve scenic or historic sites.
Each year, VDOT plants approximately 2,500 pounds of wildflower seed that contribute to the environment by providing a source of nourishment for songbirds and beneficial insects. Wildflowers along our highways also reduce accidents and litter and help fight "highway hypnosis."
Environmental Impact Studies
Studies used to determine impacts incurred by a proposed transportation improvement that is in the preliminary engineering stage of development. Prominent issues include impacts upon historical and archaeological sites and upon flora and fauna.
Hazardous materials (HAZMAT)
Hazardous materials that travel within or through the Commonwealth must comply with Federal regulations promulgated by the Secretary of Transportation. The Environmental Division offers hazardous materials training, and training on spill prevention control and counter measures.
In 1989, VDOT established its Noise Abatement Policy to lessen the impact of highway traffic noise on people in neighborhoods and in other noise-sensitive areas.
State Environmental Review Process
The State Environmental Review Process (SERP) provides for a balanced consideration of environmental and transportation needs during the development of highway projects. It helps to avoid delays by involving state environmental agencies at the earliest possible stages.
“Programmatic Agreements” are contracts that define the way agency programs are carried out. In this case, this Programmatic Agreement (PA) defines how VDOT consults with other parties concerning the potential effects on historic properties of federally-funded or licensed transportation projects in the commonwealth for compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, and its regulation, 36 CFR 800.