VDOT News - Richmond



Bob Spieldenner 804-524-6179


April 17, 2019

Natural areas help reduce pollutants in the Chesapeake Bay

RICHMOND, Va. – Starting this week, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will begin planting trees in five areas of state-owned right-of-way adjacent to entry and exit ramps on Interstate 295. These reforestation projects will improve the environment by reducing the number of pollutants that end up in surface waters through runoff. All of the sites are located in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The goal is to return each of these areas back to a natural, forested environment, so the sites will no longer be mowed by VDOT maintenance crews. Tree canopies intercept rainfall, which means it can more easily evaporate or be absorbed by the tree roots, reducing the amount of stormwater runoff.

“VDOT is committed to being a good steward of our environment,” said VDOT Project Manager Joe Parfitt. “Natural environments, whether they are forests or unmanaged meadows, create better conditions for stormwater to soak into the soil. This leads to less pollution in our surface waters.”

The selected areas along I-295, from Brook Road to Mechanicsville Turnpike, will be tilled. Then, each location will be planted with native tree species, such as tulip poplar, willow oak, chestnut oak, black locust, black cherry, flowering dogwood, persimmon and smooth sumac. Conditions at each site will determine the specific trees that are planted.

All the sites have been thoroughly reviewed for safety and visibility and motorist’s line of sight will not be affected. “Reintroducing trees to these areas is not only beneficial for the environment, but also reduces maintenance,” said Richmond District Maintenance Engineer Sean Nelson.

VDOT is working to identify other areas in the Chesapeake Bay watershed for additional reforestation projects.


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.

Page last modified: April 17, 2019