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Major traffic delays on Interstate 81 in Rockingham County due to bridge strike

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Update: Thursday, 9:19 a.m. Both northbound lanes of Interstate 81 have reopened in Rockingham County after a vehicle struck an overpass bridge Thursday morning near mile marker 249.

The bridge carries Route 720 (Smithland Road/Old Furnace Road) over I-81.

Inspectors from the Virginia Department of Transportation have determined that it is safe for traffic to drive underneath the bridge, but Route 720 remains closed pending further inspection.

The northbound I-81 detour has been lifted, but incident responders are in the final stages of clearing a jackknifed tractor trailer near mile marker 243.

Motorists should expect congestion through the morning hours on northbound I-81 and local roads in the Harrisonburg area.


First report: Thursday, 8:21 a.m. Both northbound lanes of Interstate 81 are closed in Rockingham County due to bridge damage from a vehicle strike near mile marker 249.

The damage was reported about 4:30 a.m. at the Route 720 (Smithland Road/Old Furnace Road) bridge over I-81. Route 720 is also closed in the area of the bridge over the interstate.

Northbound I-81 traffic is being detoured at exit 247B (Route 33 West/Harrisonburg). Detoured drivers will follow Route 33 (Market Street) west, Mason Street north, and then Route 11 (North Main Street/Lee Highway) north to return to I-81. Motorists should expect major traffic delays in the Harrisonburg area.

The Virginia Department of Transportation is inspecting the bridge and will make any needed repairs. There is no estimate for reopening northbound I-81.

Traffic alerts and traveler information can be obtained by dialing 511. Traffic alerts and traveler information also are available at

The VDOT Customer Service Center can assist with reporting road hazards, asking transportation questions, or getting information related to Virginia’s roads. Call 800-FOR- ROAD (800-367-7623) or use its mobile friendly website at Agents are available 24 hours-a-day, seven days a week.

The Staunton District Twitter feed is at @VaDOTStaunton. VDOT can be followed on Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and YouTube. RSS feeds are also available for statewide information. The VDOT Web page is located at

The VDOT Staunton District serves Frederick, Shenandoah, Clarke, Warren, Page, Rockingham, Augusta, Highland, Rockbridge, Alleghany and Bath counties.