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Virginia study on putting tolls through I-81 to start next month

(WHSV)
Published: May. 16, 2018 at 6:04 AM EDT
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Virginia is set to study whether to add tolls to Interstate 81, especially for tractor trailer drivers.

State Transportation Secretary Shannon Valentine recently outlined plans to begin a study next month on putting tolls on the highway.

This is a result of a bill passed by the General Assembly

, proposed by local Sen. Mark Obenshain.

Senate Bill 971 passed the Virginia Senate unanimously, passed the House on a 95-3 vote with an amendment by Del. Tony Wilt, and then was agreed upon by both chambers.

On April 4, Governor Ralph Northam signed the bill into law.

According to the senator's office, the bill would identify improvements for specific sections of I-81 and develop tolls that would try to not disturb local traffic.

The toll would specifically apply to "heavy commercial vehicles," essentially meaning tractor trailers, and high-occupancy toll lanes along the stretch of interstate.

According to Obenshain's office, the money collected from the tolls would go toward improving the interstate with projects like lane widening.

The Virginia Department of Transportation has reported a 12% increase in traffic on I-81 around Harrisonburg in the past five years, and delays have increased by 55%.

Widening the road would cost and estimated 10 to 15 million dollars for every mile of pavement,

.

Valentine said the study should be completed by the end of November.

Many small trucking companies in the Shenandoah Valley

.