Expanded traffic patrol to debut next month
The Virginia Department of Transportation will expand its Safety Service Patrol program to provide traffic control and help clear incidents in the Richmond metro area beginning next month. The program is widely used in northern Virginia, Fredericksburg and Hampton Roads; here it will include parts of Interstates 95, 64 and 295.
“The primary purpose for the Safety Service Patrol is to keep interstate traffic moving,” Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said. “These patrollers are trained and equipped to not only assist emergency responders with traffic control, but also motorists in distress. This is a highly cost-effective way to improve safety and reduce congestion.”
Beginning March 5, patrols will monitor the following routes from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday:
• I-95 between Maury Street in Richmond and Route 606/Thornburg in Spotsylvania County – this connects with the existing I-95 Safety Service Patrol in Fredericksburg and northern Virginia;
• I-64 in western Henrico between I-95 and Route 623/Rockville in Goochland County; and
• I-295 in Henrico between the I-95 interchange and the I-64 interchange east of Richmond.
The routes were chosen based on traffic volume, number of accidents and input from the Virginia State Police. Operation times and days may be modified to accommodate heavy travel seasons, such as summer and major holidays.
Safety service patrollers continuously monitor their routes in VDOT trucks, detecting incidents and responding to requests for assistance from the Virginia State Police and local emergency responders. Patrols also remove road hazards, such as debris.
When not engaged in emergency response, patrollers help stranded motorists by jump starting vehicles, changing flat tires and providing limited first aid until emergency services arrive.
The total cost of the Richmond Safety Service Patrol is $2 million per year, according to state officials. A 2007 study by VDOT’s research division, the Virginia Center for Transportation Innovation and Research (VCTIR), found the savings generated by the Hampton Roads Safety Service Patrol were nearly 5 times the cost of the service.
“The savings in terms of traffic delays and fuel consumption far outweigh the cost to run the program," said VDOT Commissioner Greg Whirley.
The Richmond Safety Service Patrol is an extension of VDOT’s Richmond Traffic Operations Center (TOC) in Chester, which monitors travel conditions 24 hours a day on area roads. The TOC shares real-time travel information with motorists via 511 and http://www.511Virginia.org.
For details about VDOT’s Safety Service Patrol, visit http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/safetypatrol.asp.
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s admission has increased by $1 across all categories. Admission is now $12 for adults; $11 for seniors ages 55 and older; and $8 for children ages 3–12. Admission remains free for children ages 3 and younger and for members.
The last price increase was in 2011, before the Garden consistently hosted Butterflies LIVE! (which is included with admission). > Read more.
The threat of bad weather didn’t keep visitors away from Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden July 10 for the facility’s weekly Flowers After 5 event (which pairs music and food with a chance to stroll the garden) and its monthly Fidos After 5 (which allows dog owners to bring their pets with them to enjoy the evening). > Read more.
Thanks in part to a $10,000 gift from the Western Henrico Rotary Club, another bright pink Jeep modified to travel extremely rough terrain has been delivered to Midwives For Haiti so that more pregnant women in the quake-ravaged country will have access to prenatal care and a greater chance of surviving childbirth.
The funds were raised at the annual casino night held in February, club president Adam Cherry said. The Rotary Club also helped purchase the Virginia-based charity’s first pink jeep three years ago. > Read more.
Take in a show at several locations this weekend! West End Comedy will provide laughs at HATTheatre; the production of “Pump Boys and Dinettes” will close Sunday; and the youth theatre company CharacterWorks will present “Footloose” at The Steward School. Another show perfect for the kids – “Despicable Me 2” is playing at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center tonight. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
‘Earth to Echo’ aims to become this generation’s ‘ET’
It’s no secret that all found-footage genre movies are the same. Grab a couple of characters, give one of them a camera, and expose them to something supernatural that’s content to lurk just off-screen until the last five minutes. Everything else will just fall into place.
But that formula isn’t particularly family friendly, if only because that thing waiting a few feet to the left of the cast is usually plotting their violent doom.
That’s what sets Earth to Echo apart from the pack. It, too, follows a group of characters armed with a camera and a tendency to encounter unknown life forms. But all those familiar parts have been rearranged just enough to make it suitable for a much younger audience. > Read more.
An eclectic array of events are taking place this weekend throughout the county. In the West End, we have the Richmond Wedding Expo, the Under the Stars Family Film Series and Henrico Theatre Company’s production of “Pump Boys and Dinettes.” In the eastern part of the county, we have a blood drive at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, Gallmeyer Farm’s annual Sweet Corn Festival and an origami workshop at Fairfield Library. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
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CalendarPull apart stuff you use every day and take a look inside at 2 p.m. at Gayton Library, 10600 Gayton Rd. For middle and high school students. For details, call… Full text