Social distancing leads to virtual co-op meetings

VDOT and VAA held the first-ever completely virtual meetings of the Statewide Traffic Engineering & Asphalt Cooperative Committees. While COVID-19 dictated this arrangement, there were some benefits to the format, not the least of which was the attendance. Over 40 participants joined the Traffic Engineering meeting from as far away as Kentucky, and nearly 60 joined the Asphalt meeting from as far away as Florida, with nearly all members of both committees in attendance.

Each meeting began with a significant discussion surrounding COVID-19 challenges and lessons learned. The importance and emphasis on proper PPE and Social Distancing were highlighted with the discussion concluding on how this, similar to all PPE, is something that must remain a constant focus area. Many topics, such as E-Ticketing, while elevated to relative importance by COVID-19, have potentially significant efficiency gains and are items that all agreed should remain key focus areas for VDOT and the industry.

Each meeting then transitioned to a more typical format and technical discussion. For the Traffic Engineering meeting, topics included Work Zone Safety items, such as the use of Leg Gaiters in place of reflective pants under certain situations. Additionally, VDOT has determined that portable temporary rumble strips (PTRS) will be used at the contractor’s option on surface treatment, slurry seal, and latex modified slurry seal schedules for 2020 with new guidance under development for 2021. For the Asphalt Cooperative meeting, VDOT provided updates on the 2019 incentives as well as the 2020 Balanced Mix Design (BMD) pilots. Topics surrounding the clarification of some specifications (namely Sections 315, and 211) and the recently implemented Pavement Shoulder Wedge were highlighted. Lastly, VAA provided an update on the Material Certification School program and some of the measures being implemented due to COVID-19 and the Governor’s Executive Order 53.