HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — UPDATE (1:15 p.m.):
The northbound lanes of Interstate 81 at mile marker 247 in Harrisonburg have reopened after a tractor trailer crashed Monday morning into the underside of the Rt. 33 overpass.
According to VDOT, both northbound lanes opened back up around 1 p.m.
Lanes remained closed for an extended period of time so that VDOT inspectors could examine the damage done to the Rt. 33 bridge, but they concluded that the bridge was safe for traffic.
However, while the left two lanes of the westbound side of Rt. 33 on the bridge are open, the acceleration lane from the entrance ramp from northbound I-81 will remain closed.
Drivers should use extra caution when merging from northbound I-81 onto the road.
VDOT plans to carry out repairs to the Rt. 33 overpass Monday night. During that time, the right lane of I-81 North will be closed, as will the northbound I-81 off-ramp to westbound Route 33 and the eastbound on-ramp to northbound I-81.
The crash was reported around 10:30 a.m. and the northbound side of the interstate remained closed for about two and a half hours, as traffic was diverted via Exit 245 on to Port Republic Rd. through Harrisonburg.
Drivers heading north on Interstate 81 can continue to expect major delays through the Harrisonburg area on Monday afternoon from a crash that first closed lanes in the morning.
Around 10:30 a.m. Monday morning, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) says a northbound tractor trailer crashed into the underside of the Route 33 overpass at mile marker 247.
As crews have responded to the crash for hours, all lanes of the northbound side of the interstate have been shut down at MM 247, as well as the southbound left shoulder.
Northbound Exit 247A is also closed. Traffic is being diverted by VDOT crews and Virginia State Police onto Exit 245 for Port Republic Road, about two miles before the crash scene.
Traffic then goes east on Port Republic Road, north on Stone Spring Road, and then west on Route 33 (Spotswood Trail/East Market Street) to return to I-81.
As of 12:30 p.m. backups on I-81 stretched at least four miles.
And, according to a VDOT statement issued at 12:30 p.m., the northbound lanes will continue to be closed well into the afternoon, for at least two more hours.
That will give inspectors time to examine the damage done to the Rt. 33 bridge to determine what action needs to be taken.
Serious congestion can also be expected on Rt. 11 through Harrisonburg and Rockingham County as drivers find detours around the scene.