The Virginia Department of Transportation is hosting a design public hearing for widening Interstate 81 to three lanes and associated improvements in the Harrisonburg area on Tuesday.
This project is located on I-81 northbound and southbound between mile marker 242 in Rockingham County and 248.8 in Harrisonburg.
The meeting will take place Pleasant Valley Elementary School, 215 Pleasant Valley Road, Harrisonburg, from 4-7 p.m.
During the open format meeting, citizens can come in during the meeting hours and discuss the project on a one-on-one basis with VDOT officials, project team members and project consultants.
Written comments can be submitted at the meeting or within 10 days after the meeting date to Mr. Scott Alexander, P.E., Virginia Department of Transportation, 811 Commerce Road, Staunton, Va. 24401-9029.
The purpose of the project is to address existing and future capacity needs, improve operational safety and reliability, limit impacts to existing access ramps and interchanges, and repair or replace deficient bridge components within the project.
Specific improvements include:
- One additional lane northbound and southbound from approximately one mile south of the exit 243 (Route 11) interchange near Pleasant Valley Road to approximately one mile north of the exit 247 (Route 33/East Market Street) interchange.
- Repair, widen and/or replace the existing mainline bridges within the project limits.
- Maintain or improve operational safety with the installation of concrete median barrier and through improved signs and pavement markings.
- Make sensible use of existing pavement and rights-of way to accomplish the capacity improvements.
- Proposed noise barrier installation based on VDOT noise analysis.
The meeting will include display boards and video renderings featuring project details.
In 2019 I-81 through Harrisonburg had an average daily traffic count of 58,000 vehicles per day. By the design year of 2047 the estimated average daily traffic volume is 81,300 vehicles per day.
The total estimated cost for this project is $320 million, including $22 million for preliminary engineering, $10.2 million for right of way and $288 million for construction.
Additional information about the project is on the VDOT website at the following link: www.virginiadot.org/projects/staunton/interstate-81-harrisonburg-area-widening.asp
The project is part of the I-81 Corridor Improvement Program (CIP), which aims to improve safety, increase reliability and foster economic growth along the 325-mile corridor. The Commonwealth Transportation Board approved the I-81 CIP in 2018.
The $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.