Virginia Museum of Transportation begins restoring tracks in Wasena Park
ROANOKE, Va. – The Virginia Museum of Transportation started reviving a piece of Roanoke’s rail history Sunday afternoon. Volunteers began clearing a stretch of track in Wasena Park, known as the beltline, of plants and debris. It’s so important to keep the knowledge passed down from one generation to another.”Volunteers begin clearing an abandoned rail track at Wasena Park in Roanoke. The beltline is owned by the museum and is where the museum first started in 1963. This is the first step in a long journey.”AdThe museum plans to return to Wasena Park at least once a month to work on the track.
Walgreens partnering with Uber to offer free rides to vaccine appointments
“We know that transportation is an issue, but even more so with COVID-19,” said Rina Shah, group vice president of pharmacy operations at Walgreens. “Through these community partnerships, we’re able to get the word out that not only is it important to get the vaccine (but) when you do schedule appointments, here’s your code for a free ride.”chicagotribune.com
‘Folks should avoid traveling’: VDOT prepares for winter storm
VDOT crews clocked in for 12-hour shifts Saturday evening in anticipation of the night’s winter weather. Multiple inches of snow are forecast for Southwest Virginia, and VDOT spokesperson Jason Bond told 10 News the conditions will likely be hard for the crews. Really, folks should avoid traveling.”VDOT will focus on interstates and main routes first, which means it could be a while before some neighborhood streets are cleared. “Snow stopping and restarting again will pull us back onto the main roads so we can continue making multiple passes over those routes,” Bond said. For a look at current road conditions throughout Virginia, click on this link.
Daywatch: CPS denies COVID-19 accommodations, weed sales top $1B and ex-Cubs player lists home near Wrigley Field
Limited transportation has long been a hurdle to employment, hindering growth at some companies and preventing people who need work from accessing available jobs. As the rise of e-commerce spurs job growth in industrial areas that are often not close to public transportation, employers hope addressing transit needs attracts a wider pool of candidates and helps workers arrive on time.chicagotribune.com
Virginia State Police, MADD ask people to not drive drunk during the holidays
ROANOKE, Va. – The Virginia State Police and Mothers Against Drunk Driving have a simple message this holiday season: if you pick up a drink, put down the car keys. “I always tell people, don’t have the ‘Not Me Syndrome,’” said Virginia State Police Sgt. Please don’t have that mindset, because anything is possible.”“This is all 100 percent preventable,” said Meghan Carter of Virginia’s Mothers Against Drunk Driving chapter. In 2019, there were 104 alcohol-related crashes in the Roanoke region, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Additionally, 45% of all crashes between Thanksgiving and New Years Day are alcohol-related, according to MADD.
Tractor-trailer crash raises questions about safety on Route 220
ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – When a tractor-trailer overturned on Route 220 in Roanoke County Wednesday afternoon, it was the moment Dave Hoglund feared would happen. Hoglund, who often commutes up Route 220 from Smith Mountain Lake, said he worried for years that a truck driver would speed and crash on the road. The proposed Interstate 73 would run alongside Route 220 if it is ever built. While Interstate 73 remains in limbo, Hoglund hopes officers pay more attention to trucks speeding on Route 220. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a tractor-trailer pulled over for a ticket.”VDOT reports that 10% of Route 220′s traffic between Roanoke County and Henry County are tractor-trailer drivers.
Roanoke City Council approves zoning change to secure desired spot for bus station
City council voted 7-0 Monday night to change downtown zoning code to allow the relocation and construction of the bus station by right, rather than through a special exemption. “We’re committed to getting a bus station that all of our citizens can utilize and deserve," Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea said. The current bus station, Campbell Court, pre-dated current zoning code and was grandfathered in. The two republican candidates, Peg McGuire and Maynard Keller, both expressed concern over the project, as did the Roanoke City Republican Committee. The new bus station will first be a temporary station at the new site, and then be built in sections around it.
Roanoke Planning Commission approves rezone for transportation plans
ROANOKE, Va – Roanoke city leaders may be one step closer to finding a permanent home for a controversial bus station. The city’s planning commission approved changes to the city’s zoning laws in hopes of expediting transportation improvements in downtown Roanoke. This rezone would allow city leaders to keep their desired location the parking lot across from the Virginia Museum of Transportation as a viable option. But planning commissioners unanimously approved the plans saying a new transportation station would make the city more equitable for everyone. The final decision on the rezone will have to be approved by Roanoke City Council.
Valley Metro offering free bus rides on Election Day
Valley Metro announced it will make all rides across the system free on Election Day. Valley Metro general manager Kevin Price said the agency traditionally waives fares to encourage voting on Election Day. However, he said it’s even more vital this year because riders are voting for President, Roanoke’s mayor and Roanoke city councilmembers. "It’s very important to vote, so we didn’t want transportation to be a barrier for someone seeking to exercise their right to vote.”If you choose to use Valley Metro to vote, social distancing guidelines are still in place. Masks remain mandatory aboard all Valley Metro bus lines.
Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport not heavily impacted by airline layoffs
ROANOKE, Va. – Tens of thousands of airline employees could be out of a job soon, now that federal relief funding has officially ended for the airline industry. However, Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport will not feel the effects as harshly as other airports. Both carriers fly into ROA, but airline spokesperson Brad Boettcher said the furloughs will likely just result in revised flight schedules. Boettcher said regional airports such as Roanoke are not heavily affected by the furloughs, but large hubs and international airports will be. "That’s where you’re going to see more of the impact: mainline flying, and not necessarily the regional flying we have here.”
Train history society builds structure to speed up rail car restorations
ROANOKE, Va. – A new addition to a Roanoke rail yard will help keep the city’s train history alive. Roanoke’s chapter of the National Railway Historical Society built a structure on its property to protect both train cars and volunteers from the weather. The structure will soon house Norfolk & Western car 512, a formerly segregated passenger car, as volunteers work to restore it. Chapter vice president Gary Gray said volunteers have often been interrupted in their restoration work by the weather. "It’s going to be great to be able to not get wet.”According to Gray, the new shelter costs $50,000 to construct, which the chapter paid for themselves.
Plans for Potomac River train bridges, which could lead to expanded Roanoke Amtrak service, move forward
ARLINGTON, Va. A major piece in potentially bringing more Amtrak service to Roanoke passed a crucial step on Wednesday. The Long Bridge project would alleviate train traffic between Arlington and Washington with two new train bridges over the Potomac River. Virginia Department of Public Rail and Transportation director Jennifer Mitchell said the current bridge over the Potomac River is at 98% capacity, making it impossible to expand Amtrak service. She said the Long Bridge project will not only open up new Amtrak possibilities, but take freight traffic away from Interstate 81. We know people are looking for an alternative to I-81, so we hope we can continue to expand passenger service.The Long Bridge project is in its early stages.
Roanoke city leaders talk amending zoning laws, relocating downtown bus station
ROANOKE, Va. – Now that Roanoke City’s request to relocate the bus station downtown has been rejected by the Board of Zoning Appeals, city leaders are taking another route. The current Campbell Avenue bus station was essentially grandfathered into the Downtown Zone. A new bus station is only allowed in the Downtown Zone with a special exception, which the Board of Zoning Appeals denied in August. That’s where the current bus station is and also where city leaders want to put the new station. However, under current zoning laws, a new bus station can only be built in a General-Commercial (CG) Zone, marked in bright red.
It is a massive job: Route 116 reconstruction will likely finish by Labor Day
FRANKLIN COUNTY, Va. The twists and turns of Route 116 between Roanoke and Franklin counties has been illuminated with detour signs for months, but the road could reopen soon. VDOT spokesperson Jason Bond estimates the road, which washed out during a storm in May, could be ready for cars by Labor Day Weekend. They have built up the roadbed, they put stone where the road collapsed, Bond said. It is a massive job.Route 116 is a popular thoroughfare between Roanoke and Smith Mountain Lake, and drivers who use the road miss its accessibility. Holiday travelers will have that road for any Smith Mountain Lake trips they want to make.
‘Every corner is a crosswalk’: Roanoke campaign promotes rules of the road
ROANOKE, Va. – A new safety campaign hopes to make it easier for Roanokers to cross the road. The City of Roanoke and Ride Solutions joined forces for a pedestrian safety campaign, which officially launched Friday. He said cars usually stop for pedestrians in one of Roanoke’s busiest intersections: the Market Street crossing. “When people cross in front of City Market, drivers stop. “It’s how we teach our kids since they were little the importance of being safe on the street and crossing safely,” Garland said.
Flash flooding not likely to leave lasting damage on roads
ROANOKE, Va. The flash flooding which put parts of Southwest Virginia at a standstill Wednesday is fading away, and it likely has not left much of a lasting impact on the areas major roads. Virginia Department of Transportation spokesperson Jason Bond believes the flooding did not cause any major damage on any highways. He said the biggest challenge is repairing roads severely damaged by Mays rainstorm, particularly Route 116 in Franklin County and Route 460 in Giles County. The Route 116 repairs are estimated to cost $2 million, while the Route 460 repairs have an estimated price tag of $1 million. It has pulled resources off of those repair jobs onto other flooded routes.Bond projects the Route 116 repairs could finish around Labor Day.
Social distancing on a school bus? Parents raise concerns about transportation this fall
ROANOKE, Va. Social distancing requirements for the 2020-2021 school year may mean that not every student can go to school every day this fall. Roanoke County mom Katherine Shaver is anxiously waiting to hear what the new school year will hold for her two children. School districts like Salem, Montgomery County and Roanoke County are looking at staggered start times, alternating schedules and sending kids to school for in-person instruction just once or twice a week. That could look different for young students versus high school students, said Roanoke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Ken Nicely. During Tuesday nights Roanoke City School Board meeting, members agreed theyll have to get creative by recruiting volunteers or faith leaders to carpool or walk kids to school, or even partnering with Valley Metro.
VDOT spends Thursday prepping roads for snowy weather
ROANOKE, Va. – Before snow started falling in Southwest Virginia, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) took steps to make everyone’s drive safer. Every major highway in VDOT’s Salem Region received a coating of brine by the early afternoon. Additional trucks also laid down salt on some roads. The main concern for VDOT is not the snow, but ice and slush that could form on freezing roads later in the night. “With these low temperatures, we can see moisture come in right around rush hour and overnight," said Jason Bond of VDOT.
Road safety: How research efforts in Virginia limit crash deaths
10 News visited the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), where experts showed the crew how they carry out the vehicles’ evaluation, which leads to its highly-respected safety ratings. CRASH DUMMIESAny crash test dummy at the IIHS has had its head slammed into an airbag hundreds of times without breaking. Active safety testing manager David Aylor says they show a nearly 80% reduction in crashes. Video from IIHS crash tests shows guards that work -- and shows ones that have failed. Only a small number of 18-wheelers have side guards, researchers say, adding that they’re often aftermarket products.
Virginia House passes bill that bans phones while driving, open containers of alcohol in cars and more
RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia House passed HB1414 on Monday, which will change a number of laws related to transportation funding, revenue sources, construction and safety programs. Supporters of the bill say all of that translates to safer, less congested roads around the state. The bill passed 56-42. The landmark transportation modernization legislation passed by the House today delivers on that mandate,” said Filler-Corn. Read more about the bill and the bill in its entirety here.
Gov. Northam says new transportation bills could save 120 lives a year
Ralph Northam and legislative leaders announced their support for an upcoming package that will plan to improve the current safety of transportation across Virginia. Previously outlined in House Bill 1414 and Senate Bill 890, the new measures are looking to establish several new transportation programs to reduce congestion in traffic while utilizing state taxes to their fullest potential in both transit and rail service. “Virginians should be able to get to work or to school safely, without sitting in traffic,” said Northam. “This bold package will reduce congestion, transform transit and rail service, and support economic growth across Virginia. The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority and the Transit Incentive Program both intend to improve rail service across Virginia.
Funding approved for I-81 upgrades in Roanoke Valley
ROANOKE, Va. – Another hurdle has been cleared as local leaders plan for upgrades along Interstate 81. On Thursday, the Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization held a public hearing for changes to its long term plan. Although no one came to speak, the group was still able to move forward. They approved more than $600 million to add an additional lane in each direction on Interstate 81 through most of the valley. Work can begin on the projects soon now that funding is secured.
VDOT preparing for winter weather but not expecting terrible road conditions
ROANOKE, Va. – A little winter weather is expected to hit the region on Tuesday, and VDOT has decided to treat the roads in case they freeze over. VDOT is brining major interstates like I-81 and I-77 as a precaution, as well as major roads in the New River Valley, including Route 460. VDOT spokesperson Jason Bond says they’re not expecting road conditions to be terrible because the ground temperature is so high, but it’s better to be careful. “Watch for potential slick spots, in those cooler areas where if it does start to snow, and the pavement temperature starts to dip down, like in a shaded area, a mountain top, an overpass, a bridge, you might start to see a little bit of accumulation on those roads, areas first," said Bond. Crews will be working overnight and Tuesday morning to treat the roads if there’s any snow or ice.
10th Street reconstruction in Roanoke reaches final stages
ROANOKE, Va. – After years of construction, the 10th Street improvement project is nearly done. The stretch of 10th Street between Orange Ave. and Williamson Road is now completely paved, and crews finished striping the road on Friday. An earlier estimate expected 10th Street to finish construction by the end of the year. “This way is beautiful now," said Hargrave, who lives on 10th Street. It makes the neighborhood look much better.”Work on the second phase of the 10th Street improvement project began in 2017 was expected to end in late 2019