Construction to widen I-81 in Roanoke County to start in spring 2020

Project will add third lane in both directions between Roanoke and Salem

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – Construction to widen Interstate 81 in Roanoke County is set to start this spring, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The $27.3 million contract was awarded at a meeting last week in Richmond to Branch Civil Inc., a Roanoke construction firm.

According to the announcement, a third lane will be added to both northbound and southbound directions of I-81 between exits 141 and 143.

VDOT claims that about 70,000 vehicles use this portion of I-81 every day, making it the most heavily traveled portion of I-81 in Virginia.

Drivers can expect two lanes of traffic to remain open on I-81 during the majority of the project. The speed limit will also remain at 60 miles per hour.

Jason Bond, a VDOT spokesman, did say that drivers will encounter barricades, which may cause drivers to slow down and could result in delays.

“Drivers could see congestion during construction, particularly during those peak travel times when we already see congestion. There is a tendency sometimes for drivers to slow down when they encounter a barricade wall,” Bond said. “So we are encouraging local traffic to might want to consider using Route 11 or Peters Creek Road as an alternate route.”

Work is expected to start in spring 2020 and be completed in summer 2022.

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