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Author Topic: Virginia plans to toll I-81  (Read 8852 times)

adventurernumber1

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Re: Virginia plans to toll I-81
« Reply #50 on: January 09, 2019, 02:47:44 AM »

It is very intriguing to hear this news. I feel that it could indeed hopefully be an effective way to get more money to fund the work on Interstate 81 in Virginia in the near future that is very badly needed.


Basics: $30 annual pass for unlimited use. Lower tolls overnight, but a truck driving the whole length would pay about $55.

Anyone else find it odd that an annual pass would cost less than driving the entire length (or half of it round trip) just once?

I do. I think it would be reasonable to at least have the annual fee at a higher price than is the fee for driving the whole thing once. It does seem incredibly bizarre to me that the annual fee is that low (though I am not advocating for it to be too much higher - just at least a little bit higher than the cost for driving the whole thing one way). While raising the price of that specific fee may understandably cause some backlash, it would definitely make it even more effective to fund the work that must be done on I-81.


I think this is a terrible plan.  A better one would be to allow tourists to pay for I-81 improvements.  After all, I-81 is the worst in the summer months as people come from the NE or the Deep South to see the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley.

Instead of tolls, how about charging a lodging tax similar to what Georgia does ($5 a night) and a sales tax on dining out and Amusements such as the price of Admission to Caverns or Museums in the area.  The sales tax on dining and amusements is how Myrtle Beach pays for most of it's road improvements.

Finally, I think if this plan goes thru the Republicans are TOAST in Virginia, they will become the minority party in Virginia for at least 50 years.  I-81 runs thru a very rural blue collar and conservative area and this would really kill the VA GOP's base.
The only issue is it would not generate nearly enough revenue to pay for improvements - plus a majority of traffic on I-81 is traffic that enters from Tennessee then three hours later leave into West Virginia, maybe stopping once or twice to use the restroom, refuel, or get food. They have no intention of being in Virginia, they just have to come through.

While my family and I have been to West Virginia a few times (our route including I-81 (from Tennessee) and I-77 (North) in Virginia), I suspect that those traffic movements (though I am far from certain) constitute a smaller percentage of the total traffic that uses I-81 through the state. While I am not completely sure, I am guessing that much of the traffic using Interstate 81 in Virginia are long-distance drivers (including many truckers).





I suspect this might indeed cause some shunpiking along alternative north-south routes through Virginia, such as US 29 or US 11 (as noted). Although while being more out of the way, US Highway 29 would probably be a better optimized alternative route in this case.

It will indeed be tricky due to the massive cost of it all, but hopefully Virginia can use this toll plan (and more) to get the money needed to fully widen I-81 through the state before the situation becomes even more dire a couple of decades from now. But this is a great start, and I am very excited about it. Hopefully I-81 will be a much smoother drive after some time and work.
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sprjus4

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Re: Virginia plans to toll I-81
« Reply #51 on: January 09, 2019, 07:40:00 AM »

^^^^^^^^^
For those of use who aren't privy to VA jargon, WTF is Whoville and who the hell is The Punk?  (Rough guesstimate: Whoville = Charlottesville, while the Punk could be any number of pols out of some parties' favor).  Seriously, I though part of this discussion was an overview of shunpiking possibilities, which due to topology are practically limited to roughly parallel routes (and I'm certainly not considering the Blue Ridge Parkway!!!!!).
Whoville is Charlottesville, and the Punk I’m pretty sure was not constructing the northern Charlottesville bypass but instead wasting hundreds of millions on spot improvements. Complete waste IMHO.
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Beltway

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Re: Virginia plans to toll I-81
« Reply #52 on: January 09, 2019, 07:57:48 AM »

For those of use who aren't privy to VA jargon, WTF is Whoville and who the hell is The Punk?  (Rough guesstimate: Whoville = Charlottesville, while the Punk could be any number of pols out of some parties' favor).  Seriously, I though part of this discussion was an overview of shunpiking possibilities, which due to topology are practically limited to roughly parallel routes (and I'm certainly not considering the Blue Ridge Parkway!!!!!).
Whoville is Charlottesville, and the Punk I’m pretty sure was not constructing the northern Charlottesville bypass but instead wasting hundreds of millions on spot improvements. Complete waste IMHO.

The Punk was responsible for killing both the Charlottesville US-29 bypass extension and the US-460 freeway project Petersburg-Suffolk.

The "U.S. 29 Solutions" package was crafted by the local politicos to benefit local traffic circulation, not thru traffic.  The Rio Road grade-separated intersection, the Berkmar Drive extension, and the Hillsdale Drive extension, serve to provide local circulator roads parallel to US-29, and a grade separation over US-29 to benefit local traffic that wants to cross US-29, and Rio Road connects to those new local circulator roads. 

These projects provide very little benefit to thru traffic, where the US-29 8-lane arterial still has at least 5 multi-phase signalized intersections that cause a lot of delay, which will only get worse in the future.  These projects cost more to build than the Charlottesville US-29 bypass extension would have cost.

Addition at 11:45 pm 1-9-2019 --
I drove these completed projects last summer.  I was convinced that this a local circulator system as I said above.  If the Hydraulic Road intersection is rebuilt to a grade-separated intersection, and a flyover is built to carry NB US-29 from the existing bypass to US-29 Emmett Street, that will provide some improvement to thru traffic (includes inter-regional traffic), but IMO this is primarily more of the above, will connect to extensions of Berkmar Drive and Hillsdale Drive and provide another grade-separated crossing over US-29 for the benefit of local traffic, to have north-south and east-west local connectivity around the US-29 Emmett Street area.  This project will cost at least $200 million and once again provide little benefit to thru traffic, with at least 4 multi-phase signalized intersections that cause a lot of delay, which will only get worse in the future.  This makes me feel like puking in a trash can.  Of course the state government starting in 2013 facilitated these projects with large amounts of state and federal highway funding.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2019, 11:49:06 PM by Beltway »
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Re: Virginia plans to toll I-81
« Reply #53 on: January 09, 2019, 08:42:32 AM »

Well then it's not going to fix the recurring traffic delays that happen in rural areas that so many people complain about. All I'm seeing in this project is some urban area relief, a few auxiliary lanes here and there, and a $30 (car) - $55 (truck) toll on I-81 to fund it. For paying that much, I'd expect a full build-out like what was proposed years back with the P3.

I-81 is a strange road with schizophrenic tendencies. You can be driving in a large slug of traffic at one point and a mile down the road it has all disappeared (or dispersed, even though there are no exits of note along the way). In most cases, two lanes are adequate for the level of traffic except at certain times (typically when college students along the way are leaving for or returning from a break). There are also sections with low accident rates, as opposed to say, Christiansburg Mountain with its wreck-a-day or sections in Botetourt County. While a third lane may not have an effect on the wrecks, having more room to get around all but the worst of the wrecks can help reduce the delays (although even with three lanes it is still possible to jam traffic for miles).

Sure, it would be nice to have six to eight lanes from one end to the other, but that isn't going to happen any time soon. This "baby step" to take care of some known and long-time problem areas is a way to ease into the major construction needed to fix the whole problem.

Bruce in Blacksburg
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froggie

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Re: Virginia plans to toll I-81
« Reply #54 on: January 09, 2019, 12:18:10 PM »

^ Given the cost to do such, it would require a much higher toll and/or gas tax that neither drivers nor locals would be happy with.  The recommended projects spend close to $1.5 billion in order to widen about 51 miles (just over $29 million per mile).  Using that as an average, widening all of I-81 in Virginia to a consistent 6 lanes would run close to $9 billion.  Probably north of $9B when you factor in the New, James, and Maury River bridges.  Even using an average $25 million a mile like Beltway has mentioned in other threads would run the cost north of $7 billion.
Well then it's not going to fix the recurring traffic delays that happen in rural areas that so many people complain about. All I'm seeing in this project is some urban area relief, a few auxiliary lanes here and there, and a $30 (car) - $55 (truck) toll on I-81 to fund it. For paying that much, I'd expect a full build-out like what was proposed years back with the P3.

As Mike Tantillo explained on Facebook, there is not much in the way of recurring congestion on I-81, and those areas that do experience it are where they're targeting the currently proposed widening.  The vast bulk of the delays on 81 are due to crashes and crash response.  Improved incident management is one of the items that will be funded via this program and will greatly reduce the delays caused by crashes and their "hours-on-end" lane and road closures.

Quote
Both the New River Bridge and Maury River Bridges are designed to accommodate a 3rd lane in each direction. The James River Bridges are only 500 feet long and wouldn't be a huge task to widen / replace.

Regardless, it will cost north of $9 billion to widen the entire roadway by the time you get the financing in place.

Bottom line:  the type of widening you want costs money.  A LOT of money.  You're only going to get that in "10 years" from much higher tolls than are currently proposed or a considerably higher gas tax.  And at the same time, VDOT has needs elsewhere that will also need funding....you yourself have mentioned 64 and 95.
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hbelkins

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Re: Virginia plans to toll I-81
« Reply #55 on: January 09, 2019, 01:09:08 PM »

Too many posts to quote and respond to, so some general observations:

"The Punk" is Terry McAuliffe. That's been Limbaugh's pet name for him since Bill Clinton was in office.

Regarding the comments on the I-77 to I-81 movements between West Virginia and Tennessee, no one is going to get gas in WV if they can do so in VA. Gas in WV is usually significantly higher due to taxes. There's typically a differential of 30 to 50 cents a gallon between Princeton, WV, and Bluefield, Va. Gas is usually close to the same price in Virginia and Tennessee, but Tennessee levies ungodly sales taxes on food and lodging. Besides, there's already a four-lane shunpike of that route -- US 23 and US 119 through Kingsport, Norton and Pikeville to Charleston. It also avoids the WV Turnpike, where tolls are going up as well. And another shunpike is US 19 and US 460 from Bristol/Abingdon to Bluefield.

I don't know what the major issues on I-81, as noted in some of the studies, are. I haven't read the studies. But my own personal observations are that I-81's biggest problems are micropassing trucks on some of the hills, which climbing lanes would alleviate; and substandard entrance ramps with short acceleration lanes/merge areas. Some of those in the Abingdon area have been addressed over the years already.
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froggie

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Re: Virginia plans to toll I-81
« Reply #56 on: January 09, 2019, 01:12:39 PM »

Quote from: hbelkins
and substandard entrance ramps with short acceleration lanes/merge areas. Some of those in the Abingdon area have been addressed over the years already.

According the the proposed project list, several of these would be addressed as well.
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Beltway

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Re: Virginia plans to toll I-81
« Reply #57 on: January 09, 2019, 04:23:35 PM »

As Mike Tantillo explained on Facebook, there is not much in the way of recurring congestion on I-81, and those areas that do experience it are where they're targeting the currently proposed widening.  The vast bulk of the delays on 81 are due to crashes and crash response.  Improved incident management is one of the items that will be funded via this program and will greatly reduce the delays caused by crashes and their "hours-on-end" lane and road closures.

The problem is, that it is much easier for an incident itself, as well as for the response to the incident, to block 2 lanes, a 10-foot right shoulder and a 3-foot left shoulder, than it is to block 3 lanes and a 12-foot right shoulder and a 12-foot left shoulder, and modern shoulders are much more sturdy and able to temporarily carry traffic.  If you lose one lane of traffic out of two lanes, you only have one lane open; if you lose one lane of traffic out of three lanes, you still have two lanes open.  A truck wreck could block the whole thing, but at least there is a lot more space to work with.

Like I have said before, the biggest problems on I-81 (all of it TN-Harrisburg) are exacerbated by the high volumes on at least 20 weekends (Fri-Sun inclusive) per year.

VDOT's own traffic projections for 2035 are in the 50,000 to 70,000 AADT range, and they are going to have a disaster on their hands if any part is still 4 lanes.
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hbelkins

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Re: Virginia plans to toll I-81
« Reply #58 on: January 10, 2019, 10:30:23 AM »

I don't know how incident management is handled in Virginia -- and I understand that they recently held an IM workshop that a few of the folks who participate here attended -- but in Kentucky, it's being stressed not to close more lanes than required in order to keep traffic moving. If you have to close all lanes, do so only if absolutely necessary, but that's not the preferred response.
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Beltway

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Re: Virginia plans to toll I-81
« Reply #59 on: January 10, 2019, 02:14:06 PM »

I don't know how incident management is handled in Virginia -- and I understand that they recently held an IM workshop that a few of the folks who participate here attended -- but in Kentucky, it's being stressed not to close more lanes than required in order to keep traffic moving. If you have to close all lanes, do so only if absolutely necessary, but that's not the preferred response.

That is the standard for highway incident management everywhere.  But it doesn't take much to block two lanes of traffic, a multi-vehicle accident that leaves the vehicles undrivable can do that for at least an hour or two. HAZMAT incidents and truck wrecks can do a lot worse.
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Scott M. Savage
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hbelkins

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Re: Virginia plans to toll I-81
« Reply #60 on: January 10, 2019, 03:51:33 PM »

I don't know how incident management is handled in Virginia -- and I understand that they recently held an IM workshop that a few of the folks who participate here attended -- but in Kentucky, it's being stressed not to close more lanes than required in order to keep traffic moving. If you have to close all lanes, do so only if absolutely necessary, but that's not the preferred response.

That is the standard for highway incident management everywhere.  But it doesn't take much to block two lanes of traffic, a multi-vehicle accident that leaves the vehicles undrivable can do that for at least an hour or two. HAZMAT incidents and truck wrecks can do a lot worse.

That may be the standard, but it's not always done in practice. We have a lot of fire departments that want to shut down the entire road for a fender-bender.
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sprjus4

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Re: Virginia plans to toll I-81
« Reply #61 on: January 10, 2019, 04:39:38 PM »

I don't know how incident management is handled in Virginia -- and I understand that they recently held an IM workshop that a few of the folks who participate here attended -- but in Kentucky, it's being stressed not to close more lanes than required in order to keep traffic moving. If you have to close all lanes, do so only if absolutely necessary, but that's not the preferred response.

That is the standard for highway incident management everywhere.  But it doesn't take much to block two lanes of traffic, a multi-vehicle accident that leaves the vehicles undrivable can do that for at least an hour or two. HAZMAT incidents and truck wrecks can do a lot worse.
There was an accident here on I-664 about a month ago, and they shut the entire highway down at VA-164 during rush hour. I watched for a while on the traffic cameras, and they were all spread out blocking all the lanes, mainly the fire trucks & police. They could've easily only blocked 1 lane and not caused that major backup that it did. The disabled vehicles were over by the left shoulder.

It's a practice that's standard, but sometimes not always used.
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Beltway

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Re: Virginia plans to toll I-81
« Reply #62 on: January 10, 2019, 06:25:25 PM »

That is the standard for highway incident management everywhere.  But it doesn't take much to block two lanes of traffic, a multi-vehicle accident that leaves the vehicles undrivable can do that for at least an hour or two. HAZMAT incidents and truck wrecks can do a lot worse.
There was an accident here on I-664 about a month ago, and they shut the entire highway down at VA-164 during rush hour. I watched for a while on the traffic cameras, and they were all spread out blocking all the lanes, mainly the fire trucks & police. They could've easily only blocked 1 lane and not caused that major backup that it did. The disabled vehicles were over by the left shoulder.
It's a practice that's standard, but sometimes not always used.

How do you know why it was handled that way?  A multi-alarm fire response could indicate HAZMAT, or injuries, or leaking gasoline, or several other possibilities that would require closing all lanes for a period of time.  FDs nowadays are trained in EMS so their presence doesn't necessarily mean fire.
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Scott M. Savage
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sprjus4

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Re: Virginia plans to toll I-81
« Reply #63 on: January 10, 2019, 06:27:34 PM »

That is the standard for highway incident management everywhere.  But it doesn't take much to block two lanes of traffic, a multi-vehicle accident that leaves the vehicles undrivable can do that for at least an hour or two. HAZMAT incidents and truck wrecks can do a lot worse.
There was an accident here on I-664 about a month ago, and they shut the entire highway down at VA-164 during rush hour. I watched for a while on the traffic cameras, and they were all spread out blocking all the lanes, mainly the fire trucks & police. They could've easily only blocked 1 lane and not caused that major backup that it did. The disabled vehicles were over by the left shoulder.
It's a practice that's standard, but sometimes not always used.

How do you know why it was handled that way?  A multi-alarm fire response could indicate HAZMAT, or injuries, or leaking gasoline, or several other possibilities that would require closing all lanes.  FDs nowadays are trained in EMS so their presence doesn't necessarily mean fire.
As far as I'm aware it was between a few passenger vehicles. Granted, I'm just assuming and shouldn't try to assign blame. There could've been something that warranted all the lanes shut down. What I said above were just my observations from watching the traffic cameras and traffic backed up for 4 miles.
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Beltway

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Re: Virginia plans to toll I-81
« Reply #64 on: January 10, 2019, 06:32:50 PM »

There was an accident here on I-664 about a month ago, and they shut the entire highway down at VA-164 during rush hour. I watched for a while on the traffic cameras, and they were all spread out blocking all the lanes, mainly the fire trucks & police. They could've easily only blocked 1 lane and not caused that major backup that it did. The disabled vehicles were over by the left shoulder.
It's a practice that's standard, but sometimes not always used.
How do you know why it was handled that way?  A multi-alarm fire response could indicate HAZMAT, or injuries, or leaking gasoline, or several other possibilities that would require closing all lanes.  FDs nowadays are trained in EMS so their presence doesn't necessarily mean fire.
As far as I'm aware it was between a few passenger vehicles. Granted, I'm just assuming and shouldn't try to assign blame. There could've been something that warranted all the lanes shut down. What I said above were just my observations from watching the traffic cameras and traffic backed up for 4 miles.

Well, I wouldn't presume from watching traffic cameras to know why it was managed that way.  FDs don't have the resources to sent fire trucks (plural) to a site unless there is a need for it; that is what I meant by 'multi-alarm fire response'.  PDs are under much pressure from the public to open roads as soon as possible.
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Scott M. Savage
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kalvado

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Re: Virginia plans to toll I-81
« Reply #65 on: January 10, 2019, 07:12:17 PM »

Well, I wouldn't presume from watching traffic cameras to know why it was managed that way.  FDs don't have the resources to sent fire trucks (plural) to a site unless there is a need for it; that is what I meant by 'multi-alarm fire response'.  PDs are under much pressure from the public to open roads as soon as possible.
It really depends... I was talking to someone from state university the other day, and they told a funny story:
Since the organization is tax exempt, the city is unhappy about providing free services - so they worked out a pay-per-use agreement (charged after that many calls a year or so).
Billing is per truck, so whenever there is a call - it is all hands up to bill as much as possible....
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Virginia plans to toll I-81
« Reply #66 on: January 10, 2019, 08:48:36 PM »

I don't know how incident management is handled in Virginia -- and I understand that they recently held an IM workshop that a few of the folks who participate here attended -- but in Kentucky, it's being stressed not to close more lanes than required in order to keep traffic moving. If you have to close all lanes, do so only if absolutely necessary, but that's not the preferred response.

[Full disclosure - I know some of VDOT's Northern Virginia Incident Management staff personally, and I have deep respect for them]

Virginia (mostly in the  form of VDOT) has superb incident management (that includes VDOT's Safety Service Patrol), at least in the Northern Virginia District, where traffic is as bad as anywhere else in the Commonwealth.

VDOT will dispatch one or more Incident Management units to the scene of an incident that is classified by the MUTCD as Class A (Major, expected time to resolve over 2 hours); or Class B (Intermediate - expected duration of 30 minutes to 2 hours).  The incident managers are empowered to request and get whatever assets are needed to expedite getting an incident cleared (without having to ask for permission), such as dump trucks with sand, wheel loaders, light plants and other things.

There are two other partners that also provide freeway service in the Northern Virginia District: Transurban (concession owner that runs the express (HOV/Toll) lanes along I-495, I-95 and soon I-395); and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), which provides  such service on VA-267 (Dulles Toll Road); unsigned VA-90004 (Dulles Airport Access Road) and on the public roads and streets within the Dulles Airport property.

Regarding lane closures, at the scene of a traffic incident, responders will close at least one lane adjacent to an incident at the scene of a crash with injury (usually for a total of two) until injured patients have been removed; completely close lanes if there's a vehicle fire (not generally in the opposite direction) and completely close lanes if there's a fatality to allow a death investigation and reconstruction to be performed (sometimes only on the side with the fatal crash, sometime a hard closure in both directions, but that is unusual).
« Last Edit: January 10, 2019, 11:10:23 PM by cpzilliacus »
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Re: Virginia plans to toll I-81
« Reply #67 on: January 10, 2019, 10:31:05 PM »

Fire and rescue may shut down a roadway if they perceive a safety risk from drivers.  One of my former sailors was an EMT in Westchester County, NY before he joined the Navy...he told me how one day he had to shut down the New England Thruway (he was also a trained/qualified on scene leader) because traffic was speeding recklessly past his crash scene (a multi-vehicle crash on the northbound side).
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Re: Virginia plans to toll I-81
« Reply #68 on: January 10, 2019, 11:14:05 PM »

Fire and rescue may shut down a roadway if they perceive a safety risk from drivers.  One of my former sailors was an EMT in Westchester County, NY before he joined the Navy...he told me how one day he had to shut down the New England Thruway (he was also a trained/qualified on scene leader) because traffic was speeding recklessly past his crash scene (a multi-vehicle crash on the northbound side).

I have not driven that part of I-95 as much as you, though I have done it all, and while it might not be a good idea to close it all down, there are certainly time when that  is  appropriate. 

There is now reasonably standardized Traffic Incident Management (TIM) training, and it is required or expected that all responders have TIM training.

IMO, things get worse on the D.C.-area National Park Service parkways, where paved shoulders are narrow (and beyond that pavement there is sometimes a wall, sometimes a different barrier, and sometimes just grass) - and frequently drivers passing by the scene at 70 MPH on roads that have a posted limit of 55 MPH or less (and a design speed well below 70).
« Last Edit: January 11, 2019, 10:53:54 AM by cpzilliacus »
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ixnay

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Re: Virginia plans to toll I-81
« Reply #69 on: January 11, 2019, 08:02:32 AM »

Like I have said before, the biggest problems on I-81 (all of it TN-Harrisburg) are exacerbated by the high volumes on at least 20 weekends (Fri-Sun inclusive) per year.

Moving this back closer to the topic: how big are weekend volumes on 81 *north* of HBG?  (I asked this on the general Pennsylvania thread but I wanted to get this thread back near the topic so I repeat it here)

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VTGoose

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Re: Virginia plans to toll I-81
« Reply #70 on: January 11, 2019, 08:54:43 AM »

There is now reasonably standardized Traffic Incident Management (TIM) training, and it is required or expected that all responders have TIM training.

There is training and good practice and there is reality. Given the recent spate of incidents where State Police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances have been hit while at a scene, it is no wonder that traffic is shut down. Lt. Brad Clark, a firefighter in Hanover County, was killed and three others firefighters were injured after their firetruck was rear-ended on I-295 in Hanover County back in October.

The TIMS training (I've taken it, I'm an extrication tech with the rescue squad) covers how to set up a scene with cones, flares, and equipment staging to warn oncoming traffic and protect people on the scene, but when a tractor-trailer comes barreling into the scene at speed, all bets are off. This was the case in Hanover, with the truck driver being charged with reckless driving and having inoperable brakes. The feeling is it is better to shut down all lanes until most of the scene is clear, then let traffic start moving when most of the danger to responders is over.

Adding a lane to I-81 northbound down Christiansburg Mountain would help in a lot of the incidents that occur, by providing that much more space to work in and to have more room to allow one lane (or shoulder) to open quicker to get traffic moving again.

Bruce in Blacksburg
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Virginia plans to toll I-81
« Reply #71 on: January 11, 2019, 09:02:16 AM »

There is now reasonably standardized Traffic Incident Management (TIM) training, and it is required or expected that all responders have TIM training.

There is training and good practice and there is reality. Given the recent spate of incidents where State Police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances have been hit while at a scene, it is no wonder that traffic is shut down. Lt. Brad Clark, a firefighter in Hanover County, was killed and three others firefighters were injured after their firetruck was rear-ended on I-295 in Hanover County back in October.

The TIMS training (I've taken it, I'm an extrication tech with the rescue squad) covers how to set up a scene with cones, flares, and equipment staging to warn oncoming traffic and protect people on the scene, but when a tractor-trailer comes barreling into the scene at speed, all bets are off. This was the case in Hanover, with the truck driver being charged with reckless driving and having inoperable brakes. The feeling is it is better to shut down all lanes until most of the scene is clear, then let traffic start moving when most of the danger to responders is over.

Adding a lane to I-81 northbound down Christiansburg Mountain would help in a lot of the incidents that occur, by providing that much more space to work in and to have more room to allow one lane (or shoulder) to open quicker to get traffic moving again.

Bruce in Blacksburg


But that is a bit of overkill.  Once traffic jams, the threat of a high-speed vehicle ramming into the scene doesn't exist.  Closing the highway also seriously congests other roads, and frustration often leads to other accidents.

If they can handle incidents in NoVA without shutting down the entire roadway (imagine if the Capital Beltway was shut down for every minor accident), then they should be able to handle incidents properly elsewhere in the state.
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Beltway

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Re: Virginia plans to toll I-81
« Reply #72 on: January 11, 2019, 10:23:58 AM »

The TIMS training (I've taken it, I'm an extrication tech with the rescue squad) covers how to set up a scene with cones, flares, and equipment staging to warn oncoming traffic and protect people on the scene, but when a tractor-trailer comes barreling into the scene at speed, all bets are off. This was the case in Hanover, with the truck driver being charged with reckless driving and having inoperable brakes. The feeling is it is better to shut down all lanes until most of the scene is clear, then let traffic start moving when most of the danger to responders is over.
Bruce in Blacksburg

I do volunteer work for a city PD, and one of our duties is providing traffic control at accident scenes, plus things like marathons and local events.  I am quite aware of how many distracted and otherwise inattentive drivers are out there, and how even with marked cars and flashing blue lights and uniformed officers with reflective safety vests, you have to watch traffic like a hawk at all times when you are directing traffic, if you want to stay safe.

A state trooper was killed a few years ago while directing traffic at the intersection on VA-30 in front of the state fair grounds.  I never heard the exact details but from what I did hear it may have been a moment of inattention by the officer, plus an inattentive driver.  Not a high-speed situation.  Not an accident scene, but anytime you are on an active roadway you are at risk.

But that is a bit of overkill.  Once traffic jams, the threat of a high-speed vehicle ramming into the scene doesn't exist.  Closing the highway also seriously congests other roads, and frustration often leads to other accidents.
If they can handle incidents in NoVA without shutting down the entire roadway (imagine if the Capital Beltway was shut down for every minor accident), then they should be able to handle incidents properly elsewhere in the state.

Another one of these "one size fits all" statements?  If I'm standing on a roadway I don't want a 4,000 pound car running into me at even 5 mph.  Likewise a 80,000 pound truck even at 5 mph can pile up some cars before it comes to a stop.

A 2-lane roadway has a lot less space to work with than a 4-lane roadway with full shoulders on both sides.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2019, 10:29:15 AM by Beltway »
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Virginia plans to toll I-81
« Reply #73 on: January 11, 2019, 11:08:39 AM »

There is now reasonably standardized Traffic Incident Management (TIM) training, and it is required or expected that all responders have TIM training.

There is training and good practice and there is reality. Given the recent spate of incidents where State Police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances have been hit while at a scene, it is no wonder that traffic is shut down. Lt. Brad Clark, a firefighter in Hanover County, was killed and three others firefighters were injured after their firetruck was rear-ended on I-295 in Hanover County back in October.

Agree that responders and response vehicles getting hit at the scene is an ongoing and serious problem, in  part since TIM training is not provided to the driving population. 

We heard about the death of Fire Lt. Clark up here too.  Sounds like the driver of the striking truck was guilty of distracted or drowsy driving, or maybe both - and definitely reckless driving.

The TIMS training (I've taken it, I'm an extrication tech with the rescue squad) covers how to set up a scene with cones, flares, and equipment staging to warn oncoming traffic and protect people on the scene, but when a tractor-trailer comes barreling into the scene at speed, all bets are off. This was the case in Hanover, with the truck driver being charged with reckless driving and having inoperable brakes. The feeling is it is better to shut down all lanes until most of the scene is clear, then let traffic start moving when most of the danger to responders is over.

I have no disagreement with a total shut-down .- at least until the patient or patient has been transported, perhaps especially if it is a "middle of the night" incident, when traffic volumes are lower but speeds are higher.

Here in Montgomery County (Maryland), a Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad ambulance was struck at a crash scene on the  Inner Loop I-495 a few miles north of Virginia a few years ago.  And on I-270 in 2017, we had a Maryland State Fire Marshal and an FBI special agent who had stopped at the scene of a crash to render assistance  (the fire marshal was also a volunteer firefighter) and both were killed by a reckless driver who drove into the scene). 

Maryland's reckless driving laws make it hard for police to charge and the states' attorneys to convict on reckless driving, even in egregious cases like this, thanks to obstruction by ex-Delegate Joseph F. "Joe" Vallario Jr. (D-23B), who was the chair of the House Judicial Committee for many years.  Vallario was (and is) an attorney that represents drunk and reckless drivers in the state courts, and also felt he should represent them in the Maryland General Assembly, but fortunately he was defeated for re-election last year (2018 primary election), and I hope that there will be efforts to toughen reckless and drunk driving laws now that he is gone from Annapolis.

Adding a lane to I-81 northbound down Christiansburg Mountain would help in a lot of the incidents that occur, by providing that much more space to work in and to have more room to allow one lane (or shoulder) to open quicker to get traffic moving again.

Might also be nice southbound for similar reasons. 
« Last Edit: January 11, 2019, 11:38:20 AM by cpzilliacus »
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Flint1979

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Re: Virginia plans to toll I-81
« Reply #74 on: January 11, 2019, 11:32:50 AM »

Is there still a rule that Interstates can't be tolled or has that been thrown out the window?
I think there is. The one's that are tolled were grandfathered in.
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