Last Modified: September 04, 2012

Virginia does not have a formalized program at this time. However, the Location and Design division of Virginia Department of Transportation does implement flexibility in geometric design practices throughout the state. On some of their "higher profile" projects, they have informally, and in some cases, randomly, adopted some portions of CSS practice in the development of alternatives analysis and public involvement of key stakeholders in the project development process. VA DOT also has design practices and methodologies that permit lesser geometric standards of design, depending on the types and locations of projects, funding, the nature and volume of traffic to be conveyed, etc. These fall under the overall concept of "pave in place" type projects that do not look to make significant changes in the "context" of the physical environment of the project itself.

VA DOT also has a program called "Rural Rustic Roads" that addresses extremely low volume "farm to market" type roads that are in the most rural of settings. This program permits VA DOT to simply pave them in place and maintain minimum roadway widths. This is not so much a design methodology as it is a maintenance option that permits them the ability to provide minor improvements to the road surfaces, add life to them, and control dust and its environmental impacts.

We do have an Agency policy. We do not necessarily have a "formalized" CSS program, but are working to adopt it as an inherent part of our project development business approach and culture. We are working to implement an awareness of CSS principles in our project development process and how they might be best used on a case by case basis so that all of our programs reflect context awareness as a fundamental of their execution.

CSS Contact:

Emmett R. Heltzel, P.E.
Assistant State Location and Design Engineer
Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)
1221 East Broad Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219
(804) 786-2949

DOT Website:

Policies & Legislation:
VDOT's CSS Policy Statement, issued August 23, 2006.
Other Public Involvement Techniques:
On a project-by-project basis, VA DOT creates specialty stakeholder and/or steering committees that assist in the development of particular projects.
CSS Training:
VA DOT has hosted special trainings for approximately 50 of its design engineering, planning, environmental, and landscape architecture staff. The majority of these sessions were sponsored by FHWA, and some of this training has been conducted by consultant firms. VA DOT has planned for more consultant-led training, including more broad based training for senior and executive level staff.
CSS Manuals:
VA Road Design Manual
Defining the Aesthetic Context Sensitive Design for Bridges, Retaining Walls and other Structures - VDOT

This presentation covers bridge and structure work in states that are actively pursuing art in architecture on bridges, retaining walls, and sound barrier walls.

Content covered includes:
  • Bridge Detailing - Piers
  • Bridge Detailing - Bridge Rails
  • Design and Texture
  • Custom Artwork
  • Process
  • Bridge and Approaches over the Rivanna River
Last Modified: September 04, 2012

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