The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has announced the next step in its ongoing efforts to streamline maintenance operations and implement its strategic business plan. VDOT plans to consolidate its 335 maintenance facilities into 244 locations by July 1, 2008. Most major changes in crew deployment will not begin until the spring to ensure VDOT can provide uninterrupted snow-removal service this winter. This consolidation comes as VDOT also plans to completely outsource interstate maintenance by July 1, 2009, as required by Virginia law.
VDOT will host a series of public-information meetings around the commonwealth in November to explain the consolidation plan, discuss its local impacts and collect feedback from area residents. VDOT Commissioner David Ekern will consider these comments and will finalize the consolidation decisions by Dec. 15.
Beginning in the spring of 2006, VDOT conducted an in-depth analysis for all VDOT maintenance facilities, reviewing administrative workload, customer-service factors, population served, geographical and highway-safety considerations. Following this extensive review, VDOT has determined that it can continue to provide sustained levels of service, retain emergency response capability and provide the safest highway network for all Virginians using fewer maintenance facilities.
"As stewards of taxpayer dollars and as trustees charged with keeping Virginia roadways safe, VDOT must continually look for ways to better accomplish our business," said Ekern. "Although these are difficult business decisions that affect a large number of employees, this change will ultimately allow us to better serve our customers, the citizens of the commonwealth."
By closing these facilities, VDOT will reduce administrative overhead and cut costs associated with maintaining underused facilities and equipment. Savings will be reinvested in the maintenance and operations for the VDOT-maintained roads in those areas consolidating facilities.
"Since 2002, VDOT has reduced in size from nearly 10,300 employees to about 9,000 and has outsourced to the private sector a significant amount of its work," Ekern said. "VDOT leaders found that it made sound business sense to adjust the agency's staffing, facility and equipment use to reflect these changes."
VDOT's existing area headquarters structure was established in the 1930s and augmented during the 1950s and early 1960s with the construction of the interstate system. Since then, VDOT's business has evolved while technology and better equipment have changed the way the department builds, maintains and operates Virginia's highway system. VDOT is adapting its maintenance facility structure to fall in line with these changes.
The consolidation effort and VDOT's implementation of the legally required outsourcing of all interstate maintenance by July 1, 2009, combined will affect approximately 600 VDOT positions across the commonwealth. Most of the 425 employees working in VDOT maintenance facilities slated for consolidation will be shifted to other locations. The agency also will eliminate 175 positions by July 1, 2009, as it implements the outsourcing of all interstate maintenance. VDOT anticipates relocating or finding other appropriate positions for all but approximately 40 to 50 employees during the implementation of these changes.