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    Posted: 08 Apr 2005 at 8:12pm
The Virginia Department of Transportation is trying to squeeze more out of the state's road system with a string of new traffic programs.

BY KIMBALL PAYNE
247-4765

http://www.dailypress.com/news/dp-evolveapr07,0,446928.story?coll=dp-headlines-topnews

..."Looking forward to the next 100 years, the focus is not construction, maintenance and operations," said Transportation Commissioner Philip A. Shucet. "It's operations, maintenance and construction."...

Williams isn't sure what VDOT will look like, and he's quick to warn that this project will take years to complete. But instead of rehashing stale ideas, he's pushing for a new way of doing business that includes everything from improving road signs to ratcheting up driver education programs...

Much of the VDOT overhaul will have to wait until a new governor is elected in November and he appoints a new secretary of transportation. Those two, Williams said, will have to be committed to restructuring VDOT for the plan to succeed.

But the change is already evident at VDOT since last January, when Shucet named Connie Sorrell to the new position of chief of operations - responsible for finding innovative ways to cut highway congestion.

"That sent a tremendous message," said Dwayne Cook, who was named head of operations in Hampton Roads late last month. "It told folks that this agency isn't just about concrete, asphalt and roads anymore."

That work, Williams said, should help VDOT function more efficiently. "Build a road when you have to," Williams said. "Make sure you've tried everything else."

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