Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 33.2. Highways and Other Surface Transportation Systems
Chapter 2. Transportation Entities

Article 4. Department of Transportation.

§ 33.2-256. Department of Transportation established.

A. There is hereby created a Department of Transportation within the executive branch, which shall be under the supervision and management of the Commissioner of Highways and responsible to the Secretary of Transportation.

B. The core mission of the Department shall be as follows:

1. To maintain and operate the system of state highways;

2. To develop, oversee, and manage highway projects included in the Six-Year Improvement Program pursuant to § 33.2-214 based on guidance from the Commonwealth Transportation Board or funded pursuant to § 33.2-1524; and

3. To ensure the safety of the traveling public on the system of state highways.

Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to limit or restrict the powers otherwise granted to the Department or Commissioner.

2014, c. 805; 2017, cc. 166, 273.

§ 33.2-257. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2019, c. 749, cl. 2.

§ 33.2-257.1. Notice to be provided to property owners of pending transportation projects.

At least 30 days prior to any public hearing regarding a transportation project valued in excess of $100 million, the Department of Transportation shall send notification of the date, time, and place of the public hearing, by regular mail, to all owners of property within and adjacent to such project study corridor.

2014, c. 733.

§ 33.2-258. Environmental permits for highway projects; timely review.

Notwithstanding any other provision of state law or regulation, any state agency, board, or commission that issues a permit required for a highway construction project pursuant to Title 10.1, 28.2, 29.1, or 62.1 shall within 15 days of receipt of an individual permit application review the application for completeness and either accept the application or request additional specific information from the Department. Unless a shorter period is provided by law, regulation, or agreement, the state agency, board, or commission shall within 120 days of receipt of a complete application issue the permit, issue the permit with conditions, deny the permit, or decide whether a public meeting or hearing is required by law. If a public meeting or hearing is held, it shall be held within 45 days of the decision to conduct such a proceeding, and a final decision as to the permit shall be made within 90 days of completion of the public meeting or hearing. For coverage under general permits issued pursuant to Title 10.1, 28.2, 29.1, or 62.1, the state agency, board, or commission that issues such permits shall within 10 business days of receipt of an application from the Department for a highway construction project review the application for completeness and either accept the application or request additional specific information from the Department. Coverage under the general permit shall be approved, approved with conditions, or denied within 30 business days of receipt of a complete application.

2005, c. 781, § 33.1-19.1; 2007, c. 896; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-259. Maintain drainage easements.

Whenever in connection with or as a precondition to the construction or reconstruction of any highway the Department has acquired any permanent drainage easement, the Department shall, until such time as such easement has been terminated, perform repairs required to protect the roadway and to ensure the proper function of the easement within the right-of-way and within the boundaries of such easement.

2000, c. 312, § 33.1-223.2:4; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-260. Specifications in purchasing lubricating motor oil.

A. Standard specifications adopted for lubricating motor oil for competitive bidding contracts to be let by the Department shall be prescribed so as to include re-refined or recycled lubricating motor oil. Specifications adopted for circumstances or equipment that require specialized treatment or products may be excluded.

B. The Department shall compile and publish a list of business entities that commercially distribute re-refined or recycled lubricating motor oil that complies with the standard specifications adopted by the Department pursuant to the provisions of this section. The Department shall make the list available to local governing bodies upon request.

1982, c. 203, § 33.1-189.1; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-261. Value engineering required in certain projects.

For the purposes of this section, "value engineering" means a systematic process of review and analysis of an engineering project by a team of persons not originally involved in the project. Such team may offer suggestions that would improve project quality and reduce total project cost, ranging from a combination or elimination of inefficient or expensive parts or steps in the original proposal to total redesign of the project using different technologies, materials, or methods.

The Department shall employ value engineering in conjunction with any project that has an estimated construction cost of more than $15 million on any highway system using criteria established by the Department.

After a review, the Commissioner of Highways may waive the requirements of this section for any project for compelling reasons. Any such waiver shall be in writing, state the reasons for the waiver, and apply only to a single project.

The provisions of this section shall not apply to projects that are designed (i) utilizing a design-build contract pursuant to § 33.2-209 or 33.2-269 or (ii) pursuant to the Public-Private Transportation Act of 1995 (§ 33.2-1800 et seq.).

1990, c. 160, § 33.1-190.1; 2001, cc. 90, 104; 2014, c. 805; 2018, cc. 290, 423.

§ 33.2-262. Removal of snow from driveways of volunteer fire departments and emergency medical services agencies.

On the roads under the jurisdiction of the Department, the Department shall remove snow from the driveways and entrances of volunteer fire departments and volunteer emergency medical services agencies when the chief of any individual volunteer fire department or volunteer emergency medical services agency makes a written request for such snow removal service, provided that such service shall only be performed when such service can be performed during the normal course of snow removal activities of the Department without interfering with, or otherwise inconveniencing, such snow removal activities. Such service shall not extend to any parking lots adjacent to such driveways and entranceways not normally used by the volunteer fire department or volunteer emergency medical services agency as their direct driveway or entrance.

1976, c. 221, § 33.1-200.1; 2014, c. 805; 2015, cc. 502, 503.

§ 33.2-263. School bus stop signs or other indicators.

The Department shall allow any local school board to install signs or other devices to indicate school bus stops, provided the installation is approved by the Department prior to installation. No local school board shall be required to install signs at all school bus stops. Maintenance, repair, and replacement of school bus stop signs shall be the responsibility of the local school board. The Department, in conformance with the Department's current policies for emergency snow removal operations, shall use its best efforts to ensure that signed school bus stop areas shall not be obstructed by snow removal operations. Installation of school bus stop signs shall not designate the area as school property.

2008, c. 291, § 33.1-223.2:18; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-264. Livestock on right-of-way of the systems of state highways.

No person, firm, or corporation shall pasture or graze, or cause to be pastured or grazed, or otherwise permit to be on any right-of-way of any highway in the systems of state highways, except as otherwise provided in this section, any livestock, unless such animal or animals be securely tied or held by chain or rope so as to prevent such animal from getting on the traveled portion of the highway, provided that this section shall not apply when such livestock are being driven along such highway while under the control of a responsible drover or drovers.

Nothing in this section shall prevent the owners of abutting parcels of land from grazing livestock unsecured by chain or rope on secondary roads that (i) have been taken into the system as gated roads and (ii) carry fewer than 50 vehicles per day.

On gated roads carrying 50 or more vehicles per day, the Department shall, upon the request of the local governing body and upon the recordation of a deed of gift or donation by such landowner of not less than a 40-foot right-of-way, reimburse abutting landowners a sum equal to $1 per foot of fencing that must be installed to keep cattle from entering the right-of-way from such abutting land. Where such fencing separates pasture land from a water source used by the owner of such pasture land to water his livestock, the Department shall construct or have constructed a means of access by which stock may reach the water source from the pasture land. Moneys for such fencing and construction of access to water shall be taken from highway construction funds. For purposes of this section, a "gated" road is a road on which, prior to July 1, 1986, abutting landowners have maintained a gate or cattle guard.

Any person, firm, or corporation who violates any of the provisions of this article shall be fined not less than $10 nor more than $50 for such offense.

Nothing in this section shall be construed to transfer the liability for injuries or property damage caused by such grazing livestock.

Code 1950, § 33-125; 1956, c. 221; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-210; 1986, c. 367; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-265. Comprehensive roadside management program.

The Department shall promulgate regulations for a comprehensive roadside management program. Such program shall include opportunities for participation by individuals, communities, and local governments and shall address items, including safety, landscape materials, services, funding, recognition, and appropriate signing.

2004, c. 679, § 33.1-223.2:9; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-266. Intermittent closing of highways subject to flooding; permits; notice.

A. Upon application of the board of directors of any soil and water conservation district and of the board of supervisors of the county wherein the highway is located, the Department is authorized to permit the intermittent closing of any highway located within the boundaries of such district and county whenever in its judgment it is necessary to do so and when the highway will be intermittently subject to inundation by floodwaters retained by an approved watershed retention structure. All costs associated with such closing shall be borne by the board of supervisors of the county, including the costs of furnishing, erecting, and removing the necessary signs, barricades, signals, and lights to safeguard and direct traffic.

B. Before any permit may be issued for the temporary inundation and closing of such a highway, an application for such permit shall be made to the Department by the board of directors of the soil and water conservation district and the board of supervisors of the county wherein the highway is located. The application shall specify the highway involved and shall request that a permit be granted to the county to allow the intermittent closing of the highway.

C. Before making such application, the board of supervisors of the county wherein such highway is located shall give notice of the proposed action by publication once each week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the county, and such notice shall contain a description of the places of beginning and the places of ending of such intermittent closing. In addition to such publication, the board of supervisors of such county shall give notice to all public utilities having facilities located within the rights-of-way of any highway being closed by mailing a copy of such notice to the office of each such public utility located within the county, or if no office is located within the county, then to the office of such utility located nearest to the county. Furthermore, no such application shall be accepted by the Department that does not certify compliance by the applicants with the requirements of publication and notice in the manner prescribed in this section. All costs associated with the application procedure and notice to the public and to public utilities shall be borne by the board of supervisors of the county.

D. Not sooner than 30 days after the last publication and not sooner than 30 days after the mailing of such notice, the Department may issue the permit with respect to such highway. Nothing herein contained shall require the Department to issue such a permit when the Department, in its sole discretion, does not consider such intermittent closing of highways to be in the best interest of fulfilling the Department's duties to the traveling public.

1976, c. 172, § 33.1-223.2; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-267. Family restrooms.

The Department shall provide family restrooms at all rest areas along Interstate System highways in the Commonwealth. All such family restrooms shall be constructed in accordance with federal law. The provisions of this section shall apply only to rest stops constructed on or after July 1, 2003.

2003, c. 279, § 33.1-223.2:7; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-267.1. Human trafficking hotline; posted notice required.

The Department shall post notice at all rest areas along Interstate System highways in the Commonwealth of the existence of a human trafficking hotline to alert possible witnesses or victims of human trafficking to the availability of a means to report crimes or gain assistance. The notice required by this section shall (i) be posted in a place readily visible and accessible to the public and (ii) meet the requirements specified in subsection C of § 40.1-11.3.

2018, c. 571.

§ 33.2-268. Contractor performance bonds for locally administered transportation improvement projects.

Whenever any locality undertakes administration of a transportation improvement project and obtains, in connection therewith, contractor performance bonds that include the Department as a dual obligee, the amount of such bonds shall be no greater than would have been required had the Department not been included as a dual obligee. The surety's obligation to the Department shall be no greater than its obligation to the locality administering the project, and the amount of the bond is the limit of the surety's obligation to either or both obligees.

2009, c. 395, § 33.1-223.2:22; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-269. Localities may use design-build contracts.

Localities may award contracts for the construction of transportation projects on a design-build basis. These contracts may be awarded after a written determination is made by the chief executive officer of the locality that delivery of the projects must be expedited and that it is not in the public interest to comply with the design and construction contracting procedures normally followed. These contracts shall be of such size and scope to encourage maximum competition and participation by qualified contractors. Such determination shall be retained for public inspection in the official records of the locality and shall include a description of the nature and scope of the project and the reasons for the determination that awarding a design-build contract will best serve the public interest. If state or federal transportation funds are used for the contract, then the locality shall comply with the provisions of §§ 33.2-209 and 33.2-214 and shall request from the Department the authority to administer the project in accordance with pertinent state or federal requirements.

2006, c. 419, § 33.1-223.2:16; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-270. Provide for training of certain local employees.

The Department shall provide for the training and certification of local governments in order that such local governments are capable of administering local maintenance and construction projects that involve the secondary or urban highway system. Such training and certification shall enable such local governments to carry out locally administered projects in compliance with federal and state law and regulations with minimal oversight by Department personnel.

2012, c. 470, § 33.1-223.2:27; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-271. Maintain property acquired for construction of transportation projects.

Subject to requirements of federal law or regulations and prior to the initiation of project construction, the Department shall mow the grass and remove weeds and debris on property acquired for the construction of a transportation project by the Department. Such activities shall be performed in accordance with the same schedules used for these activities on other rights-of-way maintained by the Department in the same locality. At the written request of the local governing body or a locality, the Department shall provide additional services on the property acquired for the construction of a transportation project, including removal of abandoned vehicles. Such additional services shall be funded from the construction allocations to the project.

2004, c. 682, § 33.1-223.2:10; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-272. Location of landfill gas pipelines in highway right-of-way; Department of Transportation to provide notice to counties.

Whenever the Department grants its permission for the construction, installation, location, or placement of a landfill gas pipeline within any highway right-of-way, notice shall be provided by the Department to every county through which such pipeline or any portion thereof will pass.

For the purposes of this section, "landfill gas pipeline" means those facilities exempted from the definition of public utility in subdivisions (b)(6), (7), and (8) of § 56-265.1.

2004, c. 808, § 33.1-223.2:11; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-272.1. Interstate pipelines; Department of Transportation oversight.

The Department may enter into agreements with any entity constructing interstate pipelines setting forth a reasonable procedure to identify and remedy damage caused by construction of such pipeline to public highways of the Commonwealth.

2017, c. 532.

§ 33.2-273. Use of steel plates in connection with highway repairs.

Any person using steel plates in connection with a temporary or permanent repair to the roadway of any highway shall follow the standards of the Department regarding warnings thereof and the marking of such plates. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any portion of a roadway that is closed to vehicular traffic.

2005, c. 537, § 33.1-223.2:14; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-274. Application and installation of traffic control measures.

Nothing in this title shall be construed to prevent the application and installation of traffic control measures to reduce the negative effects of traffic through residential areas on any component of the secondary highway system that meets the definition of "residence district" in § 46.2-100, even if such component also provides access to a "business district" as defined in the same section. Installation of traffic control measures on any state-maintained highway shall be approved by the Department prior to installation.

Furthermore, nothing in this title shall be construed to prevent the acceptance by the Department of private financing for the application and installation of traffic control measures if and when such measures meet the Department's standards.

2008, c. 468, § 33.1-223.2:19; 2008, c. 471, § 33.1-223.2:20; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-274.1. Roadside safety devices to be equipped with identification numbers.

The Department shall require that Type I (Re-Directive) Impact Attenuators, Terminals (GR-7, GR-9), Truck Mounted Attenuators, and Trailer Mounted Attenuators from the Department's approved products list installed on or after July 1, 2016, in connection with any highway construction or maintenance project funded in whole or in part with revenues of the Commonwealth shall include the manufacturer's identification number specific to the device and stamped on the device itself.

2015, c. 481.

§ 33.2-275. Periodic quantitative rating of certain highways.

The Department shall determine a quantitative rating on the pavement condition and ride quality of every highway in the primary and secondary state highway systems at least once every five years, using metrics generally accepted in the United States for this purpose. The Department shall post these ratings on its website, organized by transportation district, updated at least quarterly, with interpretive guidance, identifying each (i) primary and secondary highway or segment thereof that has been rated, the pavement condition and ride quality rating given, and the date it was last rated and (ii) primary or secondary highway or segment thereof that has not been rated and the approximate date, if available, that the rating is scheduled to be made.

2013, c. 290, § 33.1-223.2:29; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-275.1. Primary evacuation routes; public information.

The Department of Transportation (the Department), in consultation with the Department of Emergency Management, shall develop and maintain a map of primary evacuation routes in the Commonwealth. Such map shall be made available on Department's public website.

The Department shall review the quality of the transportation infrastructure along such routes and submit a report on the findings of the Department and any recommended improvements at least once every five years. Such report shall be submitted as provided in the procedures of the Division of Legislative Automated Systems for the processing of legislative documents and shall be posted on the General Assembly's website, and the first of such reports shall be submitted no later than the first day of the 2021 Regular Session of the General Assembly.

2020, c. 704.

§ 33.2-276. Noise abatement practices and technologies.

A. Whenever the Board or the Department plan for or undertake any highway construction or improvement project and such project includes or may include the requirement for the mitigation of traffic noise impacts, first consideration should be given to the use of noise reducing design and low noise pavement materials and techniques in lieu of construction of noise walls or sound barriers. Vegetative screening, such as the planting of appropriate conifers, in such a design would be utilized to act as a visual screen if visual screening is required.

B. The Department shall expedite the development of quiet pavement technology such that applicable contract solicitations for paving shall include specifications for quiet pavement technology and other sound mitigation alternatives in any case in which sound mitigation is a consideration. To that end, the Department shall construct demonstration projects sufficient in number and scope to assess applicable technologies. The assessment shall include evaluation of the functionality and public safety of these technologies in Virginia's climate and shall be evaluated over at least two full winters. The Department shall provide an initial interim report to the Governor and the General Assembly by June 30, 2012, a second interim report by June 30, 2013, and a final report by June 30, 2015. The report shall include results of demonstration projects in Virginia, results of the use of quiet pavement in other states, a plan for routine implementation of quiet pavement, and any safety, cost, or performance issues that have been identified by the demonstration projects.

C. The governing body of any locality, at its own expense, may evaluate noise from highways it may designate for analysis. Such evaluation shall be accepted and relied upon by the Department if such evaluation is prepared in accordance with and complies with applicable federal law, regulations, and requirements, as well as guidelines and policies issued by the Board, relating to noise abatement and evaluation. This provision shall not apply to projects for which the Department is required to perform a noise analysis.

2009, c. 120, § 33.1-223.2:21; 2011, cc. 476, 790; 2012, c. 171; 2013, c. 120; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-277. Sale of materials to, and use of equipment by, localities and school boards.

The Department may lend or rent equipment and sell materials and supplies used in the building or repairing of highways and streets to any locality or school board, upon such terms and conditions as may be agreed upon by the Department and such locality or school board, provided that the governing body of such locality or school board submits to the Department a certificate setting forth that the material or equipment cannot be furnished from private sources within a reasonable time. The requirement of such a certificate shall not apply to towns with a population of less than 3,500 inhabitants or to the purchase of paint for traffic marking purposes by any locality or school board.

Code 1950, § 33-111; 1952, c. 337; 1954, c. 349; 1956, c. 539; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-195; 2013, cc. 585, 646; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-278. Facilities for persons desiring to fish from bridges.

The Department may, upon the request in writing of any department or agency of the Commonwealth, construct and maintain on or in connection with any bridges that now constitute a part of any system of state highways platforms, walkways, or other facilities as may be necessary or proper for the safety and convenience of persons who desire to fish therefrom. The cost shall be paid out of funds furnished by the department or agency making the request from its own funds or funds furnished to such department or agency by gift from private sources. The Department shall not be held responsible for damage caused by the construction or use of such facilities.

Code 1950, § 33-123; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-207; 2013, cc. 585, 646; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-279. Use of streams and lowlands obstructed by newly constructed highways as fishponds or water storage areas.

Whenever any highway is being constructed and the highway is to pass over any stream or lowland the obstruction of which is necessary to such construction or if the present highway construction can be utilized to provide a suitable dam for a fishpond or water storage area, then upon application of the adjacent property owner requesting that it be so used, the Department may permit such use, provided that such dam shall be subject to the provisions of §§ 33.2-409 through 33.2-414 and any additional cost incurred shall be borne by the requesting property owner.

Code 1950, § 33-123.1; 1952, c. 499; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-208; 2013, cc. 585, 646; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-280. Treatment of highway surfaces for dust control.

The Department may treat highway surfaces for stabilization and dust control in any town in the Commonwealth upon request of the governing body of such town and may treat highway surfaces for stabilization and dust control in any county of the Commonwealth, the secondary highways within which are not a part of the secondary state highway system, upon request of the governing body thereof, provided that such county or town governing body shall pay to the Department the cost of such treatment. This section applies to any highway that is a part of the primary or secondary state highway system.

Code 1950, § 33-112; 1970, c. 322, § 33.1-196; 2013, cc. 585, 646; 2014, c. 805.

§ 33.2-280.1. Charging electronic toll collection device fees.

The Department shall not, as a result of inactivity on the part of the holder of any electronic toll collection device for a time period of less than one year, (i) charge maintenance fees for electronic toll collection devices or (ii) require users to exchange their electronic toll collection device for a different type.

2018, c. 629.

§ 33.2-280.2. (Effective January 1, 2025) Utility work database.

A. As used in this section:

"Service connection" means any utility facility installed overhead or underground between a distribution main, pipelines, conduits, lines, wires, or other sources of supply and the premises of the individual customer.

"Utility work" means the construction, installation, removal, or substantial maintenance of a privately, publicly, or cooperatively owned line, facility, or system for producing, transmitting, or distributing telecommunications, cable television, electricity, gas, oil, petroleum products, water, steam, storm water not connected with highway drainage, or any other similar commodity, including any fire or police signal system. "Utility work" does not include emergency maintenance or repairs or any work directly related to any individual service connection or service drop.

B. The Department shall establish and maintain a publicly accessible database and map of all utility work that has been approved by the Department and will occur within a highway right-of-way in a residential neighborhood, as specified by the utility. Such database shall include the location where such work will occur, the start date of such work, the projected end date of such work, the company administering such work, and any other relevant information; however, under no circumstances shall such database and map provide information on any (i) utility work within a right-of-way not maintained by the Department; (ii) critical utility infrastructure, as designated by the utility, that, upon disclosure, has the potential to jeopardize security or critical services, including Critical Energy Infrastructure Information and Controlled Unclassified Information; or (iii) information the permittee has designated as confidential. Such information shall be available in the database at least seven days prior to the start date of any such utility work and shall be deleted from such database 90 days after the completion of such work.

2024, c. 271.