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Va picks company to consolidate its traffic system

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Virginia's highway department plans to hire a Northern Virginia-based firm to run the state's five transportation operations centers.

The state Department of Transportation chose Serco Inc. for the $355-milllion, six-year contract. The Commonwealth Transportation Board will decide whether to award the contract at its June meeting.

Gov. Bob McDonnell says the company will integrate the state's five transportation operation centers located in Virginia Beach, Richmond, Northern Virginia, Salem and Staunton.

Officials say the centers monitor traffic cameras and road sensors, run electronic signs, manage accident response and reversible lanes, and act as emergency operation centers during major events.

The Reston-based company also will manage the agency's highway service patrols.