The Virginia Department of Transportation will hold a public hearing concerning the widening of Interstate 81 in Augusta County near Staunton. The meeting will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 24, in the auditorium of the VDOT Staunton District office, 811 Commerce Road, Staunton.
This will be an open-forum public hearing. Citizens can come in during the meeting hours and discuss the project on a one-on-one basis with VDOT officials and designers. Written comments can be submitted at the meeting or within 10 days after the meeting date to Mr. Scott Alexander, Project Manager. Virginia Department of Transportation, 811 Commerce Road, Staunton, VA 24401-9029. Oral comments can be recorded at the meeting with the assistance of a court reporter.
This project widens I-81 northbound and southbound to three lanes between exit 221 (I-64 interchange) and exit 225 (Route 262/Woodrow Wilson Parkway). It addresses existing and future capacity needs along I-81 between mile marker 221.45 and 225.6. The project maintains roadway and bridge safety features, improves operational safety by adding I-81 capacity, improves travel reliability for the public, limits impacts to existing access ramps, and repairs or replaces deficient bridge components within the project.
Specific improvements include:
- Addition of one lane in the northbound direction of I-81 from the Route 250 (Jefferson Highway) on-ramp at exit 222 to the Route 262 (Woodrow Wilson Parkway) off-ramp at exit 225.
- Addition of one lane in the southbound direction of I-81 from Route 262 south at exit 225 to approximately 1,200 feet south of the I-81 bridge over the I-81 southbound / I-64 eastbound ramp.
- Widen, replace and/or repair deficient elements of existing bridges within the project limits.
- Make sensible use of existing pavement and rights-of-way to accomplish the capacity improvements.
- Maintain or enhance operational safety through improvements to signs and pavement markings.
The total estimated cost of the I-81 Staunton-area widening project is $172.4 million including $13.8 million for preliminary engineering, $2.7 million for right of way and $155.8 million for construction.
Additional information about the project is on the VDOT website at the following link: www.virginiadot.org/projects/staunton/interstate-81-staunton-area-widening.asp.
The project is part of the I-81 Corridor Improvement Program, which aims to improve safety, increase reliability and foster economic growth along the 325-mile corridor. The I-81 CIP was approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board in December 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.