Local lawmakers hope for federal assistance on improving I-81

Other lawmakers who signed the letter included Senator Mark Obenshain and Delegate Ben Cline.
Other lawmakers who signed the letter included Senator Mark Obenshain and Delegate Ben Cline.(WHSV)
Published: Jan. 26, 2018 at 6:34 PM EST
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Lawmakers in the Virginia General Assembly are trying to fix traffic problems on Interstate 81.

They are now looking past the Commonwealth for help; they are looking for federal assistance.

Sixteen members of the Virginia General Assembly signed a letter to Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner and Representative Bob Goodlatte asking for assistance in improving I-81.

"Now is the time, with President Trump talking about the importance of infrastructure," Delegate Steve Landes (R - 25th District) said.

The lawmakers hope the Virginian members of Congress can work with the Trump administration to reduce congestion on the interstate.

"It was one of his campaign promises to have infrastructure funding," Del. Landes said. "That Interstate 81 and the interstate system needs to be a part of that discussion."

Del. Landes said the Virginia Department of Transportation has identified projects and knows where it can start the work. The main problem is the funding.

"Virginia really needs help with its interstate systems," Del. Landes. "Especially Interstate 81."

According to Del. Landes, the department has multiple projects that could help with congestion.

One of the biggest projects would add three lanes to "pinch points" near Harrisonburg, Weyers Cave and Woodstock.

"It is three-laning at certain points," Del. Landes said. "But that's for truck climbing lanes or to get traffic through the city of Harrisonburg and the like. It's not a three-laning or four-laning project for the entire system."

Del. Landes introduced a budget amendment that would give $670,000 to state police to help the interstate.

"Get more troopers on the road and get them enforcing the traffic," Del. Landes said. "Both speed and for safety."