VDOT Workers' Memorial: Fact Sheet

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  • The memorial honors state highway transportation workers who died performing their jobs. It is a place where family members, friends and colleagues can reflect on their loss and where the traveling public can become more aware of sacrifices made by state highway transportation workers.

  • The names of 134 employees are engraved on the memorial. The employees died between 1928 and 2012. Their names appear randomly in columns. The state highway organization was established in 1906. It is now known as the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).

  • No public funds were used to build the memorial. It was entirely self-funded with donations of money, materials and time from VDOT employees and retirees, family members, businesses and organizations throughout the state. Nearly $172,000 was contributed for the monument and surrounding features.

  • The monument was dedicated on Sept. 17, 2004, in a ceremony attended by nearly 200 family members. The first remembrance ceremony was held on April 4, 2006, during VDOT’s annual Work Zone Awareness Week.
    Man and boy at workers memorial  
  • To qualify for inclusion on the memorial, the deceased must have been an active full-time or part-time state highway transportation employee. The death must have been from a work-related accident, injury or illness. All confirmed for inclusion thus far died from on-the-job incidents. Many of the deaths occurred in work zone incidents.

  • The fund-raising effort was carried out through a non-profit group of VDOT employees who represent a variety of positions and professions throughout the agency. Pam Kida, founder of Pathways of Virginia, an organization that promotes highway safety, was also a member. Mrs. Kida is the widow of VDOT employee Alan Rotach, who was killed along Interstate 295 in 1993.

  • The memorial is 13 feet long and nearly 10 feet high. It sits on a large grassy area within the second scenic pulloff on I-64, east of Afton Mountain between mile markers 103 and 104.

  • The site was selected because it belongs to VDOT, it is easily accessible by interstate and major highways, and it overlooks a beautiful, serene view of a valley.

  • The design shows three profiles of workers wearing hard hats cut into black, white and gray granite layers. The layers are intended to reflect the diversity of VDOT's employees. An open profile at one end implies a "missing" worker and lets visitors see the scenic view of the overlook.

  • The memorial's design was selected from 41 entries submitted by VDOT employees. The design was submitted by Fredericksburg District Location and Design Engineer Harry Lee and his daughter, Stephanie, a studio arts senior at Mary Washington College at the time.

  • A landscape plan featuring a native perennial wildflower bed, colorful trees and a walkway was selected to complement the memorial. It was developed by Scott Johnson, then VDOT’s Richmond District wildflower program and landscape design manager. A daylily bed has been added to the site.

  • Several state transportation agencies have employee memorials. Among them are Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin. The memorials were built with donations, state funds, grants or a combination. Their designs range from realistic statues to abstract monuments, plaques and memorial gardens.

Page last modified: March 22, 2022