Beginning March 25 motorists will encounter a paving work zone on Interstate 81 southbound between mile marker 217.66 and mile marker 214. This location is south of Staunton near exit 217 at Route 654 in the Mint Spring area and exit 213 at Route 11 in the Greenville area.
Virginia Department of Transportation Staunton District Administrator Randy Kiser, said, “The I-81 In-Place Pavement Recycling Project uses a unique process that can potentially change the way major pavement rehabilitation is done in Virginia. It uses specialized machinery that recycles material extracted from existing road and reuses it on-site in the roadway rehabilitation and repaving process. This process can reduce a two-year work zone into two months and save millions of dollars.”
Kiser notes that the right lane will receive more in-depth work under the road surface due to decades of truck traffic. The left lane will also be rehabilitated but to a lesser depth.
Dean Gustafson, regional operations director for Staunton and Culpeper Districts in VDOT, adds, “We want everyone to have realistic expectations when traveling through this work zone area. If you are coming this way, you should expect delays. Peak travel times are from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. so, if possible, motorists may wish to reschedule their travel to avoid these times or this area. We have developed an extensive traffic management plan that involves signs, new cameras, flaggers, Virginia State Police and various trucks to monitor and manage traffic and incidents.”
Detours in the work zone area will also have unique features for left lane traffic and right lane traffic. When the work zone has lane closures, tractor trailer trucks will stay on I-81 traveling in the left lane through the single lane work zone. Passenger vehicles will turn right off of I-81 onto the primary detour. Traffic will leave I-81 southbound at exit 217 onto Route 654 (White Hill Road) westbound to Route 11 (Lee Jackson Highway). Motorists will turn left onto Route 11 southbound and re-enter I-81 at exit 213.
In the event of significant backups in the work zone area a secondary detour will be used. The secondary detour takes traffic off of I-81 southbound at exit 221 and puts it onto I-64 eastbound. Motorists will exit I-64 at exit 94 onto Route 340 (Stuarts Draft Highway) near Ladd, which is just west of Waynesboro. Motorists will head south on Route 340 to Route 11 (Lee Jackson Highway), turning left onto Route 11 southbound and travel down to the Fairfield area turning right onto Route 710 (Sterrett Road) and re-entering I-81 southbound at exit 200.
The dates of the I-81 lane closures are as follows, but it should be noted if the contractor finishes the work early some of the later weeks may not be needed for closure::
- March 25, 9 p.m. to March 31, 7 a.m.
- April 1, 9 p.m. to April 7, 7 a.m.
- April 8, 9 p.m. to April 14, 7 a.m.
- April 15, 9 p.m. to April 21, 7 a.m.
- April 29, 9 p.m. to May 5, 7 a.m.
- May 6, 9 p.m. to May 12, 7 a.m.
- May 20, 9 p.m. to May 26, 7 a.m.
- June 3, 9 p.m. to June 9, 7 a.m.
All work is weather permitting.