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November 2016 Issue 11 Volume 9

Inside this issue: • Oak Tree • Bridge Crew • Bedford’s Acting RA

Callaway AHQ works to replace a pipe in Franklin County on Route 860 (Shooting Creek Road). (cont. pg 3)

The Extra Mile Saying Goodbye To the Oak Tree Since it was planted 70 years ago, the pin oak tree on the Salem District complex has been a recognizable feature. The tree, as it grew to its full size in the parking lot outside of the administration building, has greeted many employees and guests in previous decades. “It is a rather famous tree,” remarks Jason Bond, Salem District communications manager. “I have used it as the backdrop for many media interviews over the years.” The tree has lived in the small square of dirt in the parking lot but recently has struggled to survive as it continues to grow in size. As the tree has increased in size, so has its roots and it is difficult for the roots to find water under such a resistant surface like the pavement. Through its decline during the last ten years there have been many efforts to save the tree including pruning it and crown cleaning by taking the deadwood out. cont. pg 2

A Job Well Done By Ken King, P.E. Ken.King@VDOT.virginia.gov

Many of us recently gathered with friends and family to give thanks and celebrate the fruits of the harvest of this past year. It is the perfect time of year to celebrate achievements as well as count the many blessings that we have in our lives. This year has been a successful one at VDOT as we have completed or advanced many projects such as the opening of the new diverging diamond interchange at Valley View, scheduling the upcoming ribbon cutting to open Gateway Crossing on the exit 150 project, finishing the next phase of Route 58 widening and completing a new roundabout on the Route 460

Bedford Botetourt Carroll Craig Floyd Franklin Giles Henry Montgomery Patrick Pulaski Roanoke

cont. pg 2


King cont. project at Virginia Tech where the new interchange is taking shape on Southgate Drive. In addition, our operations group implemented the new variable speed limit on I-77 to improve safety on Fancy Gap Mountain and our maintenance forces continued to make significant progress on improving quality of pavement, bridges and overall infrastructure.

(continued) A type of fungus also has rooted itself to the tree and is eating the wood – weakening it even more. With large amounts of deadwood, the tree poses a risk to parked cars, employees and the gazebo structure. Any weather event could detach a branch and cause harm to objects or people underneath. There is a plan in place to have a contractor remove the tree before any damage occurs. The tree will then be cut and usable pieces will be sold for firewood.

Fungus growing through the ivy.

There is also a process under way to find a replacement tree that will grow successfully in parking lots. “The new tree must not create a hazard for traffic around it and also should be sturdy and shade producing,” said Jim Helvey, roadside manager.

I'm so proud of each of your individual and collective contributions which “Based on our research, the top two choices are a willow oak and a sugar maple which resulted in these and many other are both planted on the campus and have been growing without any issues.” accomplishments over the last year. This is also a time of reflection when we think about changes and transition. We celebrate the bittersweet retirement of many of our leaders, coworkers and friends such as our forty-plus year veterans District Equipment Manager Jim Brewbaker and Hillsville Area Headquarters Superintendent Glen Jennings. We also reflect with sadness on the many VDOT co-workers and extended family members who have passed away this year. I am sure you will join me in holding these families close in your thoughts during this special holiday season. Lastly, I hope you will enjoy some much deserved time away from work. Whether it is through the escape of hunting in the woods or relaxing with friends and family, recharge the batteries, enjoy the holiday season, and take pride in a job well done.

-Ken 2

Employee Profile Woody Wilson has been with VDOT for

five years and started out as a transportation operator for Troutville AHQ and then transferred to Hanging Rock AHQ. Later, he applied for and was promoted to the contract monitor position at the Salem Residency. He has worked on contract projects before and believes the most challenging part of every contact is getting everything organized and set up to start initially. Once the contract begins, Woody really enjoys the business that is involved keeping up with the contract. Getting to go out and meet the people he is working with helps him form relationships with employees and contractors from year to year. Currently, he has general maintenance and paving contracts under way but soon he will be monitoring snow contracts. One of the most interesting projects he has been a part of was a pipe replacement on Route 600 in Craig County. “It was in the middle of nowhere and on a buffalo ranch so every morning we would get to see the buffaloes which was really interesting,” says Woody. When he isn’t at working, Woody enjoys spending time with his wife, Tammy, and his daughter, Lily. Lily owns four horses, and he loves watching her competes in various horse shows. He also enjoys clowning with the Shriners. Over the past five years, he has won first place in the “Tramp Clown” category for his sad-face clown costume.


Meet Bedford Residency’s Acting RA: Wes Ripley Through the LEAD program, Wes Ripley, had the opportunity to work out of the Bedford Residency for the past month.

Bedford Touch-a-Truck David Johnson, Loretta Rieley and James Caldwell brought a snow plow and a motorgrader to this event for children to explore. The kids wore VDOT hard hats and vests and had big smiles while pretending to drive the equipment.

Wes works on the Jamestown Ferry as a facilities manager in the Hampton Roads District and has been with VDOT for 29 years. He got involved with the LEAD program after his district administrator nominated him to participate in the second cohort. He picked Southwest Virginia to exchange with because he liked the area and had worked with Ken King previously and knew it would be a good fit. To prepare for his assignment filling in for Residency Administrator Todd Daniel, he attended staff meetings at the residency and district, so he could meet the people he would be working with. His goal while in Bedford was to keep up with the projects and work that Todd had been focusing on.

(continued)

He was surprised at the volume of email concerning work orders and project updates that he received. “On the ferry, we are in our own little bubble. The LEAD program has given me a new appreciation for the transportation side of VDOT and a greater respect for everyone who works in the AHQs in my area,” said Wes.

B R I D G E

C R E W

On November 10, Eddie Pagans, Brian Mabe, Zach Wood, Jason Rutrough, Bill Webb, Terrence Barbour, Mike Furrow, Jesse Hughes and Darrell Guilliams from Callaway AHQ worked to install a new pipe on Shooting Creek Road. Citizens who live on the road came out to thank the crew and were While their office space is being renovated, the Salem District bridge crew has been work- very happy to see the work being done. ing together in the training room on the district complex. This classroom-styled room is a temporary space for 30 days until they are able to return to their newly renovated office space.

CVC Event: Belk Charity Day Sale On November 5, Belk in the Valley View Mall had their semi-annual Charity Day Sale partnered with the CVC. Customers were able to purchase $5 coupons to use throughout the store that morning while they shopped. A total of $421 was raised and all of the proceeds benefited the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southwest Virginia. 3


Going the Extra Mile Citizens Express Gratitude for VDOT work.

Employee Updates From Human Resources New Hires

Promotions and Transfers

Anthony Patterson is a program adminJennifer Cohill is an architect/engineer in Location “I wanted to be sure that everyone at VDOT istration specialist II, Facilities and Design. She transferred from Central Office. was made aware of the impeccable job that was done with the tree removal. The entire crew from Irving AHQ was extremely nice and left the site absolutely beautiful. I am constantly impressed with VDOT work and this was the best so far for me personally. ” - M. Suters Thaxton

“I would like to compliment VDOT on the excellent job that was done in response to my request to have the culvert and ditches cleaned out. The crew did a beautiful job cleaning out the culvert and ditch and even put straw down in the ditch. I want to thank each and every one involved with the work that was performed.” - P. Hawks Dublin “I called and requested to have work done to reduce the dust on Violet Lane. VDOT responded to my request quickly and did a really good job. I appreicate all you guys do!” - A. Collins Christiansburg “Thank you to Mr. Roy Bryant and his staff for the work done relating to Healing Springs Road. All of my concerns were addressed and I am so happy with the work VDOT did.” - J. LaPrad Blue Ridge “VDOT recently filled in about a dozen and a half potholes on my road and they are so smooth! In the 25 years since I have lived on my road, I have never seen a more fantastic job. Thank you!” - D. Lay Catawba

Wesley L. Goff, transportation operator Molly Morrison, is now a policy planning specialist II II, Christiansburg AHQ with District Maintenance. Cris Hardwick, transportation operator Bryan Glover, Regional Operations in Bristol, is now II, Blacksburg AHQ an architect/engineer I. Matthew Neel, transportation operator Stephen Hollandsworth transferred from the Dublin II, New London AHQ Survey Crew to the Salem Survey Crew as an engineering technician IV

Deaths

Carl “Snuffy” Smith, retired in 2007 with 34 years of service. His last position was as the Christiansburg assistant residency administrator. Timmy “Stick” Tuck, transportation operations manager I at Smith Mountian Lake AHQ, passed away with 31 years of service. Letter of Appreciation: On October 11, I had the misfortune of having a rental car die at Exit 94B in Pulaski as I was traveling. Thank goodness for VDOT! Two VDOT men, Roger Davis and Adam Davison from the Christiansburg Residency, stopped to see what had happened for they thought I might have had an accident. Roger and Adam did a wonderful job of ensuring my safety and helping me to obtain roadside assistance from Enterprise Rental. I literally do not know what I would have done without them. A letter seems like a very small gesture of thank you, but believe me I mean every word of it. These acts of kindness and service reflects well on VDOT and I truly appreciated the assistance. My very best to Roger and Adam and the rest of the VDOT agency. - W. Eubank Andover, Vermont

Happy Holidays! VDOT OFFICES CLOSED Friday, December 23 Monday, December 26 Monday, January 2

THANK YOU to everyone who sent photos during the dry run inspections. Great job everyone!

Virginia Department of Transportation Salem District - Office of Communications 731 Harrison Avenue Salem, VA 24153 540-387-5250 Jessica.Snead@VDOT.Virginia.gov ©2016 Commonwealth of Virginia


November 2016: The Extra Mile