I-81 Advisory Committee meets to discuss improvement projects

I-81 improvements
I-81 improvements(WHSV)
Published: Apr. 28, 2021 at 6:30 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — The Interstate-81 Advisory Committee met virtually Wednesday afternoon to talk about improvements they have made to Interstate 81 so far and where there’s room for improvement.

The improvement project overall is expected to cost nearly $3 billion.

David Covington, who helps coordinate the projects for the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), says 19 of the 64 improvements were completed in 2020. Nine projects will be moving to the construction phase shortly. He says changes like extending acceleration lanes will provide several benefits.

“These are what we always go back to in ensuring we’re heading in the right direction,” Covington said. “The benefits of the program are to enhance safety, reduce congestion, and provide an environment that is suitable for future economic development.”

They also discussed potential future improvements and the options to use rail service to alleviate traffic.

All 64 projects are in different stages, with four in the construction phase. Some projects include shoulder widening and adding auxiliary and truck climbing lanes.

Covington says the largest projects will be focused on a third lane for traffic.

“We have 10 widening projects that are included within the program, and these are some of our largest projects dollar-wise and then also from a construction perspective and impact to the traveling public,” Covington said.

Some other improvements include new digital message signs, 51 new traffic cameras, and improved incident clearance to name a few. For more information, click here.

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