Home Public hearing planned to discuss construction of truck climbing lanes on Interstate 81

Public hearing planned to discuss construction of truck climbing lanes on Interstate 81

Interstate 81
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The Virginia Department of Transportation will hold a design public hearing on July 27 concerning the construction of truck climbing lanes on Interstate 81 in Augusta and Rockingham counties.

The 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. public hearing will take place at the Blue Ridge Community College Plecker Center for Continuing Education at One College Lane in Weyers Cave.

Citizens are welcome during the meeting hours to discuss the project on a one-on-one basis with VDOT officials and designers. Oral comments can be recorded at the meeting with the assistance of a court reporter. Written comments may also be submitted at the meeting or within 10 days after the meeting date to Jennifer Hoover, P.E., Project Manager. Virginia Department of Transportation, 811 Commerce Road, Staunton, VA 24401-9029.

The public hearing will also discuss interchange improvements at exit 235 in Weyers Cave. The project is primarily in northern Augusta County near Weyers Cave but extends about a mile into southern Rockingham County.

This project will:

  • Add a third lane to northbound Interstate 81 from mile marker 234.1 to 237.7
  • Add a third lane to southbound I-81 from mile marker 237.9 to 234.2
  • Provides truck climbing lanes to the right side in each direction to reduce the likelihood of trucks slowing in the primary travel lanes on the steep grades
  • To minimize impacts, widening is to occur primarily to the inside and within existing right-of-way
  • Some shoulder widening and reconstruction will be required for temporary traffic control
  • The northbound and southbound bridges over Naked Creek will be widened and rehabilitated
  • The northbound and southbound off-ramps and northbound acceleration lane will be lengthened on Route 256 at exit 235

Little to no reconstruction of the existing travel lanes is anticipated.

  • In 2019, I-81 through Weyers Cave had an average daily traffic count of 56,800 vehicles
  • By the design year of 2046, the estimated average daily traffic volume is 76,700 vehicles
  • The total estimated cost for this project is $127.2 million
  • $10.8 million for preliminary engineering
  • $1.6 million for right of way
  • $114.9 million for construction

Additional information about the Weyers Cave truck climbing lanes project is found on the VDOT website.

The project is part of the I-81 Corridor Improvement Program.

Highlights of the CIP include:

  • Aims to improve safety, increase reliability and foster economic growth along the 325-mile corridor
  • I-81 CIP was approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board in December 2018
  • $2 billion package of targeted improvements was funded by the Virginia General Assembly and signed into law in spring 2019

More information about the program is available at Improve81.org.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.