News Briefs

Publishing the History of Virginia's First Peoples

Christopher Shephard and bookFeb. 11, 2021: Christopher Shephard, a Virginia Department of Transportation preservation program coordinator in the Richmond District, contributed to The Archaeology of Virginia’s First Peoples.

The book is from the Archeological Society of Virginia and the Council of Virginia Archaeologists.

Shephard wrote about the Late Woodland period in eastern Virginia, from 900 to 1600 A.D.

“Virginia has such a rich and dynamic Native history that spans nearly 15,000 years, with many tribes continuing to thrive in the commonwealth to this day,” said Shephard.

“I'm happy to have had the opportunity to publish insights into this deep history that were never written down, but that we continue to discover through archaeology.”

It’s available on Amazon. Proceeds will fund future research.

A Fine Dam Tool For Clearing Drains

the tool fabricated by vdotJan. 21, 2021: Last fall, the Richmond District Shop at the Virginia Department of Transportation fabricated a ram attachment for the Prince George area headquarters to use in its ongoing battle against beaver dams.

The dams block pipes and other drainage facilities in Dinwiddie and Prince George counties.

“The Petersburg Residency requested a ram be built” for a grading machine, said Richmond District Equipment Shop Manager Travis Elliott. “They borrowed one from the Waverly area headquarters and it worked great for them.”

Travis said Scott Ohrum, the shop’s welder / fabricator, traveled to Waverly to examine the attachment and to understand how it was made.

“The ram is the first of its kind that has been made here in the district," said Elliott. "Scott ... did a great job.”

The tool was constructed from a 20-foot piece of half-inch H beam that was then boxed in with half-inch plate.

The ram was welded to a plate that fit the grader.

Fabricating the tool required seven arc welding passes on each side to ensure proper penetration.

“The plate used to box in the H beam was welded every other four inches for the entire length of the ram,” Elliott said.

Petersburg Residency Administrator Crystal Smith said the shop deserves recognition for developing this tool so quickly.

“It was completed in just two weeks,” she said. “They had very little information from us to go on and were able to work magic to get this to us in such a short time frame.

"This will save us a ton of time, and we are just so pleased.”

Improvement at Routes 288 and 250

Routes 288 and 250Recently, the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Richmond District completed work on an interchange improvement at routes 288 and 250 (Broad Street Road) in Goochland County.

District residents and county officials have been excited about the project, which enhances safety and operations at the interchange.

It includes additional turn lanes and traffic signals for higher traffic volumes and increased safety.

Previously, drivers had to wait to turn across traffic headed west, which would back up to the limit of the single turn lane.

Marcos Kocolis, Richmond District construction manager, appreciates how the district’s environmental, materials, contract and traffic engineering teams worked together.

“There is a lot behind-the-scenes to get new signals into service. Each location has its challenges,” Kocolis said. “The contractor [Curtis Contracting Inc.] had an experienced team that worked well with the department.”

He said these improvements are important because counties around Richmond continue to grow.

“As Broad Street expands on the West End, projects like these will keep traffic safe and flowing,” he said.

The project took about seven months to complete at a cost of about $3.7 million.

Page last modified: Feb. 11, 2021