I can’t drive … 81

Stop the Presses column by Chris Graham

I never, ever, drive Interstate 81.
I go out of my way to avoid it.
And of course, this costs me to no end.

I bet. Probably takes you an hour to get from Waynesboro to Harrisonburg.

It does. But I’m still in one piece when I get there.

That’s what decisions involving 81 have come down to for us anymore, ladies and germs.

You get where you’re going on time, or you get knocked off the road between Weyers Cave and Bridgewater.

Actually, we still don’t get there on time. Sitting behind those accidents takes forever and a damn day.

Good point. Because 81 is one of those weird interstates that have exits several miles apart in many locations.

God forbid a semi and a minivan get into a dustup between, say, Verona and Weyers Cave. Or anywhere between Lexington and Staunton, or Harrisonburg and Woodstock.

You can’t get off anywhere, and even if you could, you’re stuck on 11 in bumper-to-bumper traffic ’til you get around it.

So I drive the backroads wherever I’m going.

And I go to Harrisonburg a couple times a month. And I’ll be heading down to Buena Vista on Labor Day for the annual political parade.

And actually, Port Republic Road into Harrisonburg and 11 into Lexington and 11 from there to Buena Vista ain’t all that bad, if you have to do ’em.

Nice vistas, quiet driving (as long as there hasn’t been an accident on the interstate, anyway.)

Memo to VDOT: Folks, y’all gotta do something about this.

I’ve been writing these columns for 10 years now, and one of the first ones that I put under my byline was about what y’all were planning to do about 81.

Eventually, sometime soon, preferably, doing something would be a good alternative.


Chris Graham is the author of Stop the Presses: A Collection of Columns. Information on the book is available online at www.authorchrisgraham.com.

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