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. 
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Thoracic surgeon is first to perform 100 robot-assisted lobectomies in Central Virginia


Graham M. Bundy, a thoracic surgeon with HCA Virginia Physicians’ Cardiothoracic Surgical Associates, is the first such surgeon in Central Virginia to perform 100 minimally-invasive Da Vinci robot-assisted lobectomies (a surgical procedure to remove a lobe of the lung). The procedure is used to treat multiple types of conditions but is most often used to treat lung cancer. > Read more.

UMFS has urgent need for foster parents


UMFS officials say they have a desperate need for more foster families in the Richmond region and Central Virginia, especially those who would receive teenagers currently in the foster care system.

In recent years throughout the state, the number of children entering the foster care system has grown. > Read more.

VSP issues warning about automated traffic ticket email scam

Virginia State Police officials are warning Virginians about an email scam that tells people they are receiving an “automated traffic ticket” from the agency. State Police do not use or issue digital or automated traffic tickets or summonses, however. Anyone receiving such an email should delete it and not click on any links provided in the email, police said. > Read more.

READ Center offers free classes, training to low-literate people


One in six adults in Metro Richmond has literacy issues, and the READ Center in Henrico County is working to address the issue.

Next week – Sept. 24-30 – is Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, a time during which the READ Center is shining a light on its efforts to help some of the 35,000 adults in the region for whom reading, writing and basic math remain an elusive target. > Read more.

Play Day RVA planned for Sept. 21


The Richmond region will celebrate Play Day RVA Thursday, Sept. 21, with activities throughout the area to celebrate the opportunities that exist to play in the community. Dozens of employers, local governments, schools and community organizations will participate by hosting events that integrate playful activities into daily life and spread awareness of the value of active living. > Read more.

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September 2017
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Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden will offer the class “Garden to Glass: Cocktails from Late Summer’s Bounty” from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Learn how to use smoked, charred and grilled produce from the late summer harvest to create delicious craft cocktails and accompanying hors d’oeuvres. Cost is $24 for Garden members and $37 for nonmembers; fee includes samples of the cocktail recipes, hors d’oeuvres and admission to the final evening of Flowers After 5. To register, visit http://www.lewisginter.org. Full text

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