Changes Coming to I-81 Interchanges in Harrisonburg

By: Garrett Wymer Email
By: Garrett Wymer Email

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- Changes are coming to two major interchanges in Harrisonburg.

Neighbors say the changes are needed. The city hopes to get the green light for some greenbacks to help pay for it.

Kendall Farley has a common complaint about Port Republic Road right off I-81.

"It's just a lot of traffic all the time," she said. "It's especially hard when you're trying to get to work on time, trying to get to school on time. I've been late to class before with all the traffic, so there definitely needs to be a change."

That traffic is one thing a new plan will help address.

"We need additional lanes, additional off ramps," said Jim Baker, Harrisonburg's director of public works.

Tuesday night at the public hearing for the state's six-year transportation plan, Baker asked for help paying for the project.

The project would make big changes at exits 245 and 247, helping reduce traffic and make the interchanges safer.

"[There has] been significant growth in the area," Baker said, "and we anticipate a lot more growth in the area, with James Madison University expansion and Rockingham Memorial Hospital and just general growth in the entire Harrisonburg/Rockingham County area."

If the city does not work to put the brakes on the problem now, Baker said, it will just get worse.

That is not something Farley wants to see, saying the backups are bad not just for the cars, but also at the crosswalks.

"It's ridiculous," she said.

The project is in the early stages right now. Baker says the project is being studied, and it will be several years before we will see construction.


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