Information
Gravel Roads

Statewide, VDOT maintains about 6,800 miles of unpaved roads -- nearly 14 percent of Virginia's secondary road system. While gravel roads enhance the beauty of rural communities, they require regular maintenance for a smooth ride.

Potholes and rutting

Rain, snow and ice are rough on gravel roads, which soften and lose their shape when conditions are wet.

Routine amounts of precipitation can lead to a “washboard” effect. VDOT crews will make repairs by adding gravel and re-grading the road to a smoother texture.

After heavy rains or a major snowstorm, more extensive repairs may be needed. In this case, VDOT crews often wait until drier conditions to avoid causing additional damage to the road. They may also make spot repairs to address immediate needs, then return in the spring or summer to rebuild the road’s crown and ditches for good drainage.

Dust control

Conversely, in summer months when the weather tends to be dry, traffic on gravel roads can stir up dust. In this case, VDOT may apply calcium chloride for dust control. This helps to lay down the dust and compact the fine stone for a sturdier surface.

Getting a road paved

Residents interested in getting a gravel road paved should visit VDOT’s website for information on the rural rustic roads program and more: www.virginiadot.org/info/faq-road-paved.asp.

Speed limit

In July 2014, a new law set a maximum speed limit of 35 mph on all unpaved roads statewide. This speed limit is a safe, reasonable speed for travel on unpaved roads.

Inclement Weather

VDOT monitors weather daily and when inclement weather is forecast, VDOT makes preparations to respond.

 When roads are impacted by weather, VDOT’s first priority is safety, and crews will work around the clock until roads are passable. 

Snow

VDOT monitors weather daily and when inclement weather is forecast, VDOT makes preparations to respond.

You should also keep an eye on your local weather so you know what to expect. Make sure to have an emergency kit in your car with items such as snacks and a blanket in case you become stranded in your car.

When roads are impacted by weather, VDOT’s first priority is safety, and crews will work around the clock until roads are passable. 

 Snow Removal

VDOT is responsible for clearing all state-maintained roads.

Interstates and most primary roads are cleared first, as well as major secondary roads with vital emergency and public facilities or those with high traffic volumes.

Snow emergency routes are key among the top priorities. Localities designate these roads for immediate snow removal so emergency vehicles can use them.

Other secondary roads and subdivision streets will be treated if multiday storms hit Virginia, but crews focus efforts on roads that carry the most traffic.

In northern Virginia, crews work interstates, major roads and main subdivision roads concurrently when possible.

Incorporated cities and some towns clear their own streets, as do Arlington and Henrico counties.

How soon will roads be passable after a winter storm?

It depends. Generally speaking, VDOT’s clearance goals are as follows: For one passable lane on all roads: 2-4 inches of snow: 24 hours after a storm ends 6 inches of snow: 48 hours after storm ends More than 6 inches of snow: more than 48 hours after storm ends.

Potential snow totals of a foot or more will take more time to plow and may require several days after the storm ends to make all neighborhood streets passable.

We define passable as drivable with extreme caution. It may be snow-packed, and may not be cleared curb-to-curb or down to bare pavement. Crews may sand hills, curves and intersections to help with traction.

Once snow arrives, crews will work around the clock to make roads passable. Crews will begin plowing after about two inches of snow has fallen. This helps ensure plows don’t damage the pavement.

snow plow tracker helps you see where plows are in real time. If your road hasn’t been plowed within the above timeframe, you can report it online to VDOT’s Customer Service Center. You can also click on “Report a Road Problem” at the top of the home page on VDOT’s website.

Why do plows block my driveway with snow when they clear the road?

Unfortunately, to make as many roads passable as quickly as possible, there’s no way to avoid it.

VDOT plow operators push snow off the roadway in smooth, continuous passes. It ends up in gutters and on road shoulders, sometimes blocking driveways. To avoid extra work, shovel snow to the right of your driveway as you face the road after a plow has been by. Shoveling tips can be found in this video.

Why do VDOT trucks sometimes drive with plows up when it’s snowing?

They could be spreading sand or salt, or it could be that they’re out of those materials and are heading back to the maintenance yard for more. It’s also possible that they’re driving to their assigned area. Once snow arrives, VDOT crews will work around the clock until roads are passable.

What if there’s an emergency and rescue vehicles can’t get to me because of snow?

Call 911, or local or state police. If rescue personnel need help getting to you, they will work with VDOT crews to get the road cleared.

Where can I find out the latest information on road conditions and snow removal operations?

Current road conditions can be found online at 511Virginia.org, or by calling 511.

The latest news releases are online in VDOT’s newsroom.

You can also follow VDOT’s social media accounts for updates. Do you know which VDOT District you’re in? Your local VDOT Twitter feed will provide updates about your area during weather emergencies.

VDOT District Offices

Your local VDOT Twitter feed will provide updates about your area during weather emergencies.

Statewide Twitter Newsfeed @VaDOT
@VaDOT
Hampton Roads on Twitter @VaDOTHR
@VaDOTHR
Richmond on Twitter @VaDOTRVA
@VaDOTRVA
Staunton Twitter @VaDOTStaunton
@VaDOTStaunton
 
Fredericksburg Twitter Newsfeed @VaDOTFred
@VaDOTFred
Northern Virginia - @VaDOTNOVA - Twitter Feed
@VaDOTNOVA
@VaDOTCulp
@VaDOTCulp
@VaDOTSalem
@VaDOTSalem
 
@VaDOTBristol
@VaDOTBristol
@VaDOTLynchburg
@VaDOTLynchburg
 

Drainage

Directing water away from the roadway is important for safety, and also to prevent the pavement from deteriorating prematurely.

VDOT works to maintain the flow of water off pavement and through the right-of-way of state-maintained roads. Some drainage systems are maintained by cities and counties, and others are maintained by private entities such as homeowners associations.

Private property owners also have responsibilities when it comes to drainage: you must keep any ditches, gutters, drains or other drainage facilities on your property clear of debris so stormwater drains properly. It’s important to know where property lines and rights-of-way run so you know who is responsible for maintaining drainage.

How do I maintain good drainage at home?

Avoid activities that prevent the free flow of water. Keep open channels, ditches and driveway pipes clear of grass clippings, leaves and other debris that could restrict water flow.

I have standing water in my yard or flooding at my home. Can VDOT help?

VDOT can respond to reports of flooding or standing water only when it affects a state-maintained roadway or right-of-way property. VDOT doesn’t maintain drainage on private property.

What can I do to get rid of standing water?

See if you can get the water to drain properly. Check it to determine if there’s something blocking the water. It could be as simple as removing limbs or fallen leaves from the end of a drainpipe.

What if I’m not able to fix the problem?

To report a drainage issue, contact VDOT’s Customer Service Center at 800-FOR-ROAD or online at https://my.vdot.virginia.gov. You can also click on “Report a Road Problem” at the top of the home page on VDOT’s website, www.virginiadot.org. We’ll research your inquiry and determine if the agency has any responsibility over the concern.

Additional information about drainage can be found at www.virginiadot.org/drainage.

Pavement

Did you know VDOT maintains more than 127,917 lane miles of roadway? That breaks down to 5,450 miles of interstate, 22,685 miles of primary roads and 99,782 miles of secondary roads and 652 miles of frontage roads.

It's a lot of pavement to maintain, and we are always at work to make improvements and extend the life of roadways in the commonwealth.

Each summer a resurfacing schedule is created. The paving industry submits bids for these contracts, and the work is awarded in the late fall and winter. VDOT works diligently to maximize limited funds to lengthen the lifespan of Virginia's roadways. To see if paving projects are scheduled in your neighborhood, or to check the status of a paving project see VDOT’s Statewide Paving  Map.

Some relatively inexpensive paving applications can be used to maintain a road's pavement conditions, particularly by sealing out moisture. By using this approach, VDOT stretches limited funding while maintaining the service life for thousands of miles of Virginia roadways. 

What types of paving treatments may be used?

There are a few different options, and VDOT rates and analyzes pavement conditions to determine the best treatment. A variety of factors are considered, including the condition, ride quality and the volume of traffic.

Resurfacing Methods

There are a few different types of resurfacing methods that might be used in your neighborhood. See below for information about each type.

Asphalt

Asphalt is a mix of, sand, gravel and asphalt cement.

This treatment provides a smoother ride and enhances the condition of the roadway. How much it will extend the road's life can vary greatly, depending on the level of traffic.

Asphalt is most often seen on interstates and primary roads since it's best suited for higher traffic volumes. It's not typically used on neighborhood roads.

Cape Seal

Cape seal is a two-step paving treatment completed over the course of a few weeks.

First, a chip seal is applied. The road surface is sealed with a layer of asphalt “chips,” a mixture of liquid asphalt and stone. This is a durable and water-resistant layer that protects the roadway. Once that's applied, it is blotted on top with a layer of sand and gravel. This will remain on the roadway for about two weeks. It prevents the asphalt from damaging vehicles and allows the first treatment to cure.

About two weeks after the chip seal is completed, a sweeper and/or vacuum will be used to remove any remaining sand and gravel. Once that is complete, a final travel surface – a slurry seal – will be applied.  

The slurry seal is a mix of crushed stone and liquid asphalt. The final product will initially have a slightly textured surface, but it will be smoothed out over time by traffic.

Cape seal is about 40 percent of the cost of asphalt and can be expected to extend a roadway's life by five to six years.

What to expect: When sand and gravel is applied to the road after the chip seal, there will be a rougher than usual travel surface. Pedestrians and bicyclists should use caution during this phase of the project. This temporary condition improves as traffic uses the road.

Microsurfacing

Microsurfacing is a mix of crushed aggregate, mineral filler, and latex-modified emulsified asphalt. It is applied by a truck equipped with a squeegee or spreader box.

It's effective for fatigue, cracking, loss of loose aggregate on the surface, moisture infiltration, roughness and poor surface friction.

Microsurfacing is about 35 percent of the cost of asphalt paving, and can be expected to extend a roadway's life by three to six years.

Slurry Seal

Slurry seal is a mix of asphalt emulsion and aggregate that's spread over the entire roadway surface. It's applied by a truck equipped with a squeegee or spreader box.

Slurry seal is effective for cracking, weathering, loss of friction, moisture infiltration and roughness.

This treatment is especially effective at improving friction on roads with vehicle speeds below 30 mph, and for water-proofing the pavement surface.

A slurry seal treatment is about a quarter of the cost of asphalt paving, and can extend a roadway's life by four to five years.

After slurry seal is applied, you can expect to see a small amount of stone remaining on the road. This is normal and should clear in four to eight weeks. Residents may experience a different road texture in the beginning, but the product will cure after several months and the difference will be less noticeable.

Surface Treatment

Surface treatment may also be called tar and gravel, or chip seal. It involves spraying asphalt directly onto the road to seal cracks and imperfections. This is immediately followed by an application of small stones, which are then rolled and partially embedded into the road's surface. One of the final steps of the process is a “blot” coat. During this step, a layer of fine dust or sand is applied to seal in the liquid asphalt that would otherwise spray up onto vehicles. This blot coat typically stays in place for one to three weeks and allows the resurfacing materials to fully cure.

When surface treatment is applied, the pavement cures and smooths out as motorists drive along the road and the sun's heat bakes the surface. The loose gravel will also settle or be washed or blown off the road. In some cases, when traffic and rain do not displace the residual sand during the curing time period, VDOT will schedule additional roadway sweeping.

Surface treatment is very cost effective; it can be applied at about 15 percent of the cost of asphalt paving.

Paving Operations

What if a different treatment is preferred?

VDOT would prefer to have brand-new pavement on all of its roads, all the time. However, just as a homeowner may choose to seal a wooden deck instead of rebuilding it after a few years of wear, VDOT must make its pavement maintenance decisions thoughtfully. Our goal is to invest our limited resources to meet our needs, cost effectively.

When can I expect work to begin?

Contractors will distribute a notice to each neighborhood resident approximately 30 days prior. Exact dates are generally not available until 10 days prior to work beginning.

What are normal work hours?

Generally, work occurs on weekdays between dawn and dusk.

How are contractors overseen?

Inspectors are on site to ensure work is carried out appropriately, and according to state specifications.

Potholes

VDOT repairs potholes on state-maintained roads, which includes many neighborhood roads.

Potholes on roads in a city, some towns or in Arlington and Henrico County are the responsibility of the public works department in that location. If you live in a neighborhood and have a Home Owners Association that maintains roads, then the HOA could be responsible for repairs.

How Do Potholes Form?

Potholes form when moisture seeps into pavement, freezes, expands and thaws. This cycle weakens the pavement, and eventually, the weight of traffic loosens the pavement and it begins to crumble.

When there's been heavy snow and rain, potholes may appear.

VDOT crews are always on Virginia's roads addressing various maintenance needs. Potholes are considered a safety issue, so when a pothole is discovered or reported, crews will repair it as soon as possible if weather permits. Repairs are scheduled in accordance with the severity of the pothole.

How Are Potholes Repaired?

How a pothole is repaired is based on the temperature and availability of materials. While hot mix asphalt is preferred for most roadways, it's often not available during colder months when temperatures are less than 50 degrees. When repairs are made with other materials, they may be revisited once warmer weather arrives and hot mix asphalt is available. When temporary patching is done, it may be several weeks before the permanent patch is completed.

Sometimes mobile patching machines are used. They use a spray injection method; trucks are equipped with a special attachment controlled by the driver that first blows debris out of the pothole, and then fills it with patching material. It is best suited for small potholes and pavement cracking, and can be driven on immediately afterward.

Mobile patching machines can be used at any temperature; however, more permanent repairs may need to be done once hot mix asphalt is available.

Reporting Potholes

It's always helpful when citizens let us know about maintenance needs. Potholes and other road issues on state-maintained roads should be reported to VDOT's Customer Service Center at 800-FOR-ROAD or online at https://my.vdot.virginia.gov. You can also click on “Report a Road Problem” at the top of the home page on VDOT's website, www.virginiadot.org. If there are multiple potholes in your neighborhood, be sure to note that when you submit the report.

Roadside

VDOT works to maintain roadsides for the safety of all motorists. Besides making the areas along the road visually pleasing, these maintenance efforts improve sight distance and help to maintain proper drainage. If you notice an area where grass or vegetation is making it difficult to see to drive safely, you can report it to VDOT’s Customer Service Center at 800-FOR-ROAD or online at https://my.vdot.virginia.gov. You can also click on “Report a Road Problem” at the top of the home page on VDOT’s website, www.virginiadot.org.

Mowing

Mowing along the roadside is needed to increase sight distance, and it also creates a more aesthetically pleasing appearance. Since many factors can affect how fast grass grows, there’s no standard statewide mowing schedule; it’s done in each district as needed to maintain safe driving conditions.

If you notice an area where grass or vegetation is making it difficult to see to drive safely, you can report it to VDOT’s Customer Service Center at 800-FOR-ROAD or online at https://my.vdot.virginia.gov. You can also click on “Report a Road Problem” at the top of the home page on VDOT’s website, www.virginiadot.org.

Mowing can sometimes be detrimental to pollinators — including honey bees, birds, bats, and butterflies — because it can destroy their habitats. Pollinators contribute substantially to the U.S. economy and are vital to keeping fruits, nuts and vegetables in our diets by moving pollen from one part of the flower of a plant to another, or from one plant to another, to fertilize the flower. Over the past few decades, there has been a significant decrease in pollinators. Through VDOT’s Pollinator Habitat Program, areas with pollinator plant species such as milkweed are preserved when doing so doesn’t create a safety issue. In these areas, mowing is not recommended from April to November when pollinators are seeking out the plants for food and shelter.

Volunteer Mowing

Residents sometimes ask if they may mow grass along a road on the state right-of-way. Additionally, a locality or homeowners association (HOA) may require property owners maintain the roadside in front of their properties. 

If you wish to mow along a high-speed, non-limited access roadway or in a median, a permit and proper safety instruction is required.  

Mowing permits aren’t generally issued in cases where residents are mowing grass in front of their homes. Drivers expect to encounter pedestrians and activities associated with regular yard maintenance and in cases of mowing in these areas, traffic isn’t a problem.

Those who wish to volunteer must complete and sign a land use permit application. Fees are typically required for permits, however this fee is waived for volunteers. For more information, contact your local VDOT residency office.

Before You Start Mowing

  • Coordinate time and date for the mowing with the local VDOT residency.
  • All participants must view the Adopt-a-Highway safety video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMqWWj4xT4M
  • If driving to the site, carpool to keep roadside parking to a minimum. Park as far from the road's edge as possible.
  • Put up the "Mowing Ahead" signs before beginning mowing, in accordance with the appropriate two-lane or multi-lane Volunteer Mowing Operation layout.
  • After putting up work zone signs, pick up litter on the same section of road immediately prior to mowing, in order to prevent debris from being discharged from the mower.
  • Be sure equipment has all safety features in place and is functioning properly.

The Best Time to Mow

  • Do not mow during peak travel times or when traffic is heavy.
  • Work only in daylight and fair weather.

What to Wear

  • Always wear a yellow-green safety vest so drivers can see you easily. Put on the vest before you leave the car so you are visible the moment you are on the side of the road.
  • In addition to the safety vest, wear brightly colored clothing that protects your arms and legs. Use hard-soled shoes, safety glasses and work or gardening gloves.

While Mowing

  • Don’t mow or pick up litter on median strips unless you have permission from VDOT's residency to do so.
  • Don’t mow or remove signs beyond your section. Stay within the area marked by your safety signs.
  • Do not pick up materials that appear to be hazardous. Contact the State Police if you find such material.
  • Never participate in a mowing operation while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

When Mowing is Complete

  • Remove “Mowing Ahead” signs after you have finished mowing.
  • Return provided signs to VDOT.

Tree Trimming

VDOT trims trees when they interfere with sight distance, traffic signs or signals. Limbs overhanging a roadway at a distance of less than 20 feet will be trimmed.

Trimming can preserve the natural beauty of the roadside, while also protecting roadside assets such as drainage structures. VDOT also considers how to balance an attractive overhead canopy with allowing daylight through to warm the roadway during the winter months, which aids the melting of snow and ice.

If a tree is restricting sight distance or is creating unsafe driving conditions, please contact VDOT’s Customer Service Center at 800-FOR-ROAD or online at https://my.vdot.virginia.gov. You can also click on “Report a Road Problem” at the top of the home page on VDOT’s website, www.virginiadot.org.

Brush Removal

VDOT will cut or remove brush and other vegetation when it interferes with sight distance, traffic signs or signals. Generally, undesirable brush is cut at a minimum distance of 20 feet from the roadway.

Additionally, the area between ditch lines must be kept clear of any brush that interferes with traffic or restricts sight distance.

If you notice an area where grass or vegetation is making it difficult to see to drive safely,  please contact VDOT’s Customer Service Center at 800-FOR-ROAD or online at https://my.vdot.virginia.gov. You can also click on “Report a Road Problem” at the top of the home page on VDOT’s website, www.virginiadot.org.

Adopt-a-Highway Program

The Adopt-a-Highway program provides an opportunity for you or your family, business or civic group to clean up litter along the road, and help to keep the roadsides beautiful. We will recognize your efforts by erecting a sign with your group's name after two pickups have occurred and been documented. 

Each year, nearly 18,000 Adopt-a-Highway volunteers collect more than 25,600 bags of waste along Virginia’s highways. You can learn more about the program on VDOT’s website.

Traffic

VDOT installs and maintains a uniform system of traffic signals, signs and markings which promotes safe travel. For requests for new or additional traffic controls, including concerns or suggestions regarding traffic signal timing, contact your local VDOT office.
VDOT maintenance responsibilities are as follows:

  • Arlington and Henrico Counties – these counties maintain traffic control devices on their secondary roads.  VDOT maintains most traffic control devices on primaries (U.S. and VA numbered routes).
  • All other counties – VDOT maintains traffic control devices on all publicly-owned roads.
  • Towns – VDOT maintains traffic control devices in smaller towns.  Some larger towns maintain their own traffic control devices.
  • Cities – VDOT does not maintain traffic control devices in cities.
  • Interstates – VDOT maintains all traffic control devices on interstates and interstate ramps.

Signs

Information about sign placement, requesting new signs, Watch for Children signs and historical markers can be found below.

Sign Request/Replacement

If you live in a city or large town: If a sign needs to be installed or replaced in your neighborhood, such as a “dead end” sign or a sign to indicate a pedestrian crossing, you should contact the agency that’s responsible for that road. All cities and most large towns maintain their own street signs. Street signs are the locality’s responsibility. If you have a problem with a street sign, your local public works department is usually the appropriate contact.

If you live on a county road: VDOT maintains the street signs in all counties except on secondary roads in Arlington and Henrico counties. For assistance with a VDOT maintained sign, contact VDOT’s Customer Service Center at 800-FOR-ROAD or online at https://my.vdot.virginia.gov. You can also click on “Report a Road Problem” at the top of the home page on VDOT’s website, www.virginiadot.org.

Placing Signs along the Road

Signs, such as yard sale or political signs, and memorials cannot be on or overhanging state right of way. Any advertising sign adjacent to the right of way requires an Outdoor Advertising Permit.  VDOT has a program for roadway memorial markers; relatives of crash victims can get a permit to put up a memorial sign for 2 years.  If you have questions regarding this program, you can contact your local VDOT residency.

What is “right-of-way?” State-maintained highway right-of-way is the road surface and property along a roadway on either side. This area is under VDOT’s control, and it must be kept clear for motorist safety and so road crews have room to work.

There is no standard right of way distance for every road. Generally, the right of way ranges from 15 to 150 feet from the road’s center line. Due to this wide range, it’s important to find out exact right-of-way distance before installing a sign or objects near a road. In most cases you can determine the right of way by reviewing your property plat or deed. If you have questions about right-of-way, you can contact your local VDOT residency.

Companies, organizations or individuals who want to place outdoor advertising signs adjacent to the right-of-way or within sight of a state highway should call 804-786-0654 or e-mail outdooradvertisingrenewals@vdot.virginia.gov .

State law prohibits signs and advertisements in state right-of-way. VDOT is authorized to remove any sign that is in violation of state code, especially if it interferes with roadside maintenance or presents a safety hazard to motorists.

 In addition, the agency can levy a $100 civil penalty for each sign violation. VDOT also works with localities and the Adopt-A-Highway program to enforce this law.

Watch for Children Signs

A county or town may purchase, install and maintain “Watch for Children” signs alerting motorists on residential streets that children may be at play nearby on certain streets maintained by VDOT, in accordance with the Code of Virginia section 33.2-251 and VDOT requirements. 

In order to accommodate the provisions of the law, VDOT’s “Guidance on the Installation of Watch For Children Signs was developed, which explains the process and requirements to be followed by the locality for the installation of these signs, and the agreement that should be used. 

Signs may be installed on streets at the major entry points within a subdivision where the speed limit is 35 mph or less and where they do not conflict with other VDOT signs. 

To initiate the installation of signs, a representative of the locality should complete the agreement included in the VDOT guidance document and indicate the locations of all signs to be installed. 

Upon agreement and signatures by VDOT, a Land Use Permit Application LUP-A is then submitted by the locality, which provides authorization for the installation of signs on VDOT’s right-of-way.

For further information contact your local VDOT office.

Historical Markers

Historical Markers are administered by the Virginia Department of Historical Resources (DHR) per the Code of Virginia (§ 10.1-2204). A public or private sponsor who wishes to erect a marker provides the funding and applies to DHR for review and approval of the marker content. If approved by the DHR Board, DHR authorizes the manufacture of a cast aluminum marker from a foundry. In turn, DHR coordinates with VDOT in order to locate a suitable site, install and maintain the marker.

The Historical Marker Program provides a positive benefit for tourism across the Commonwealth and receives the most positive media coverage of all of the DHR’s programs. The Historical Marker Program has grown since its inception in 1927 to more than 2000 markers located on VDOT maintained right-of-way, and hundreds more located within cities, towns and on private property. The program grows annually by an average of 15-20 historical markers per year.

 

 

Speed

Do you have concerns about speed in your neighborhood? Below is information about traffic calming and establishing additional fines for speeding in neighborhoods and school zones.

Traffic Calming

Traffic calming works to slow vehicle speeds on neighborhood streets where significant speeding might impact the safety of pedestrians. 

The Traffic Calming Program provides communities with guidance and procedures to identify and implement traffic calming on their neighborhood streets.  The proposed traffic calming measures may also serve to alleviate other issues, such as cut-through traffic or through trucks.  

To initiate traffic calming, a county, acting through its board of supervisors or a town, acting through the town council, develops a traffic calming plan according to VDOT’s guidance and procedures which includes identifying the preferred calming measures, scheduling and facilitating meetings and developing and documenting the required level of community support. 

Once the plan is developed and it is determined to be feasible by VDOT, the locality presents the plan to the community at a public meeting where a ballot survey is conducted. 

Upon approval of the proposed plan by at least 60 percent of the affected households, and endorsement by the locality, VDOT is notified and approval for implementation of the plan then requested.

The locality may then install the traffic calming devices (where approved by VDOT) or; VDOT may install the devices, depending on funding availability and priorities.

For further information contact your local VDOT office.

Additional $200 Speeding Fine Program

To address locations where speeding is a problem, the Additional $200 Speeding Fine Program allows a locality to request the installation of signs on certain residential streets indicating that an additional $200 fine applies to those caught speeding. 

VDOT’s policy describes the criteria and requirements that must be met for the installation of signs. Generally, the signs may be installed on streets within a residential development, neighborhood or community where the posted speed limit is 35 mph or less and there is a documented speeding problem. 

Additionally, the street must have the residential units facing the street and provide driveway connections or curbside parking for a majority of the residential units. 

Once a formal request is submitted by the locality with supporting data, VDOT staff will review the information and make a decision.

If approved, VDOT will typically install the signs within 60 days of approval.

For further information contact your local VDOT office.

School Zone Speed Limits

VDOT has established a process that allows a Local School Board to enter into a formal agreement with VDOT for the locality to install, operate and maintain flashing school zone speed limit signs on state maintained highways.

The formal agreement and the Code of Virginia Sections 46.2.873 and 46.2-878 prescribe various aspects of the type of signs, their placement, and operation. The agreement specifies what the school zone speed limit will be (e.g. 25 mph), the allowable hours of day/days of week/months of year when the signs can be operational, as well as the locations of the flashing school zone speed limit signs. VDOT’s Traffic Engineering Memorandum TE-183 provides additional guidance, a typical signing layout, and a sample Agreement.

The School Board requesting such sign(s) must submit a proposed agreement to the appropriate Residency Administrator at VDOT. VDOT will then review the proposed School Zone Speed Limit, conduct an engineering study for the speed limit change as required by law, and develop a signing plan, etc. Upon the determination that it is warranted and prudent, VDOT will enter into an agreement with School Board.

For requests on state-maintained roads within VDOT’s Northern Virginia District, the locality must conduct the engineering study and a proposed signing plan.

The agreement will specify that the School Board will bear all costs in connection with the purchase, installation and maintenance of the flashing school zone signs necessary for proper and efficient operation, plus the cost of operations. The agreement also stipulates that VDOT may remove signs not installed, operated or maintained in accordance with the agreement.

Per the definition of “school” in the federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, these signs are only used for public or private schools that serve one or more of grades K-12; they cannot be used for day cares, preschools, or colleges.

Signals

VDOT installs and maintains a uniform system of traffic signals, signs and markings which promotes safe travel. For requests for new or additional traffic controls, including concerns or suggestions regarding traffic signal timing, contact your local VDOT office.

VDOT maintenance responsibilities are as follows:

  • Arlington and Henrico Counties – these counties maintain their own traffic control devices on secondary roads.  VDOT maintains most traffic control devices on primaries (U.S. and VA numbered routes).
  • All other counties – VDOT maintains traffic control devices on all publicly-owned roads.
  • Towns – VDOT maintains traffic control devices in smaller towns.  Some larger towns maintain their own traffic control devices.
  • Cities – VDOT does not maintain traffic control devices in cities.
  • Interstates – VDOT maintains all traffic control devices on interstates and interstate ramps.

Through-truck restrictions

The Through Truck Restriction Program provides guidance and support for a locality to request a restriction of trucks (other than a pickup or panel truck) that are using residential streets as through routes where there is a safety or operational concern or where such traffic is not compatible with the area.

Requests for truck restrictions should follow the requirements and procedures set forth by the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) in the Guidelines for Considering Requests to Restrict Through Trucks on Primary and Secondary Highways.

Generally, as described in the CTB guidelines, a truck restriction is initiated by the local governing body. After a public notice and a hearing, a formal request is submitted to VDOT usually in the form of a resolution along with the appropriate supporting documentation.  If the request and proposed restriction(s) meet the criteria in the CTB guidelines, VDOT will conduct further study and a decision to approve or deny the request will be made by VDOT or the CTB, as appropriate. 

VDOT is mandated to act upon a request within nine months and incurs all installation and maintenance costs for posting signs for an approved restriction. 

For further information contact your local VDOT office.

Roundabouts

Roundabouts have proven to be a safe and efficient geometric design to reduce delays and improve traffic operations. Roundabouts also help reduce the frequency and severity of crashes and fuel consumption and air pollution from stopped vehicles, and are typically less expensive to construct and maintain than a signalized intersection. Quite often, roundabouts enhance the beauty of an intersection, and can provide effective speed control in residential areas.

There are currently about 180 roundabouts in operation across the state, with another 90 in various stages of planning and construction.

Since 2003, VDOT’s practice is to consider the feasibility of a roundabout and other alternative designs in place of traffic signals on its construction projects. The goal is to keep traffic moving efficiently and safely by identifying which design best serves the needs of the intersection. Factors considered include the layout of the intersection, traffic volumes, adjacent land uses and crash history.

Resources

VDOT website: Roundabouts in Virginia

VDOT video on YouTube: Driving Modern Roundabouts

Federal Highways Administration brochure: Roundabouts: A Safer Choice

Resources from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS): Highway Safety: Roundabouts