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Tractor trailer fire causes massive backups on I-81 in Augusta County

Photo submitted to WHSV by Lisa
Photo submitted to WHSV by Lisa(WHSV)
Published: Jul. 2, 2019 at 3:02 PM EDT
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UPDATE (5:10 p.m.):

All lanes of Interstate 81 are back open after a tractor trailer fire near Greenville caused a total southbound shutdown for much of Tuesday afternoon.

However, backups remain at 11 miles, from Greenville to Staunton, and will take some time to clear.

After traffic was diverted onto Route 11 for so long, congestion remains heavy there as well.

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UPDATE (4:22 p.m.):

After an hour and a half of a complete shutdown in the southbound lanes of Interstate 81 at mile marker 210.9, near Greenville, one lane has reopened.

A tractor trailer fire blocked all lanes, causing over nine miles of backups on the interstate on Tuesday afternoon, with traffic stretching from Greenville to Staunton.

Drivers were being detoured onto Route 11 at Exit 213A, with state troopers directing traffic at the interstate to keep traffic moving through extreme congestion on Route 11.

Now, the southbound right lane and right shoulder remain closed, but the left lane has reopened.

Backups will persist until both lanes reopen though. Wreckers have moved the truck to the shoulder and are working to clear the scene as heavy traffic ahead of Independence Day continues along the interstate.

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Drivers heading south on Interstate 81 should be prepared for serious delays in southern Augusta County on Tuesday afternoon.

According to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), a tractor trailer fire has closed all southbound lanes of I-81 at mile marker 210.9, near Greenville.

As of 3:48 p.m., backups stretched back at least seven miles. Traffic is being diverted off of the interstate onto Route 11 at Exit 213A and Virginia state troopers are in the intersection to direct traffic along Route 11. According to VDOT, they also adjusted signal timing to help keep traffic moving there.

To get ahead of the backup there, you can also get onto Route 11 at exits 217 or 220.

Two heavy-duty wreckers are on scene to clear the travel lanes and then move the truck to the shoulder once the fire is extinguished.

The incident occurred while a heavy downpour was affecting the area.

Drivers can expect extreme congestion on Route 11.