State program seeks to ease traffic on I-95 I-64 and I-295 in Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – A program that helps clear accidents and keep traffic flowing in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia is expanding to the Richmond area.

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell announced Tuesday the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Safety Service Patrol will arrive in Richmond this March.

“The primary purpose for the Safety Service Patrol is to keep interstate traffic moving,” Governor McDonnell said in a press release. “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.”

The state decided the patrol will monitor three Central Virginia routes:

  • I-95 between Maury Street in Richmond and Route 606/Thornburg in Spotsylvania County
  • I-64 between I-95 in Richmond and Route 623/Rockville in Goochland County
  • I-295 in Henrico between the I-95 interchange and the I-64 interchange east of Richmond

The state said those routes were chosen based on traffic volume, accidents and input from Virginia State Police.

According to the press release, VDOT safety service patrollers will monitor the three routes Monday thru Friday from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., detecting incidents and helping Virginia State Police.

Safety service patrollers will also help stranded drivers jump start vehicles and change flat tires, the release indicated.

The program costs $2 million a year, according to the governor’s office. It added VDOT research showed the savings generated by the Hampton Roads Safety Service Patrol were nearly five times the cost of the service.

“The savings in terms of traffic delays and fuel consumption far outweigh the cost to run the program,” VDOT Commissioner Greg Whirley said in a statement released to the media.

http://www.wtvr.com/news/wtvr-vdot-safety-patrols-20120214,0,5616560.story