UPDATE: (August 2, 2013)--
VDOT tells WSLS the contractor has advised next week's blasting has been changed to Wednesday, August 7 at 10:30 a.m.
VDOT says because of weather, they have decided to do the blasting earlier than they originally planned. Blasting will now take place at 9:30am instead of 10:30am.
Expect delays along Interstate 81 Wednesday as VDOT starts a new round of blasting in Montgomery County. Crews will be working near mile marker 124 in the truck climbing lane project zone to repair an unstable slope near the road. VDOT says today's blasting should only take about 15 minutes. But it's going to take a lot more than one morning to get this project done.
Back in May, a crack was discovered in the slope that runs right along southbound I-81, and VDOT says it has since learned there is a lot of unstable rock in that area. To prevent a landslide from happening, crews will have to remove about 25 to 30,000 cubic yards of rock.
Each blast only removes about 3 or 4,000 cubic yards. So you're looking at around 7 to 10 blasting days to get that done.
What that means for drivers, starting at 10:30 Wednesday morning, and any other morning blasting happens, state police are going to slow traffic to a near stop in the area.
Those slow roll lane closures will be in place starting at mile marker 114 for northbound traffic, and mile marker 128 for southbound traffic. On ramps will also be restricted, northbound at exit 118, and southbound at exit 128.
Those will reopen and traffic will return to normal speed after blasting is complete. Once they blast, crews have to go in and remove the rock they've just blown up before they can blast again, and for that reason, future blasting dates have not yet been scheduled.
VDOT says as soon as it knows that information, it will pass that along to drivers.