Drivers raise concerns over I-81 following deadly crash

Two days after a crash along Interstate 81 in Rockingham County claimed the life of three people, drivers are hoping officials will make a change.

VSP says of the nine fatal crashes across the state, three involved motorcycles.

"People out here do not care," said Charlie Williamson, a truck driver who uses I-81 frequently. "Every morning when I listen to the news, I hear about some kind of wreck."

Williamson is one of 11 million truck drivers who uses I-81 every year. He said speed and congestion are two of the biggest issues he sees with the interstate.

"It's just a mad house," he said.

According to VDOT, there have been more than 11,000 crashes on the interstate in the past five years.

On Wednesday, three people were killed after a tractor trailer ran off the left side of the roadway near Mount Crawford, through the interstate median, into southbound lanes and crashed head-on into two southbound vehicles.

The crash shut down all southbound lanes of I-81 near Mount Crawford for the entire afternoon. Police said the cause of the crash is still under investigation.

"I wish the interstate had four lanes, even three would be great," said Tom Thayer, a driver from Winchester. "If there are accidents, which happens quite a bit, there are few access routes to go around."

In 2018, the Community Transportation Board approved 2 billion dollars worth of improvements along I-81. $240 million would be used to widen the highway in parts of Harrisonburg.

Drivers hope transportation officials and lawmakers continue working to prevent other tragedies.