INTERSTATE 81 LANE WIDENING CONSTRUCTION PROJECT EXIT 137 TO EXIT 141 – A $179 million design-build project to widen both directions of I-81 between mile markers 136.6 and 141.8 from two to three lanes is set to begin. Starting in February and continuing into the early summer, work will be performed on the inside and outside shoulders along a five mile section of both northbound and southbound Interstate 81 in Roanoke County and the city of Salem. The shoulders will be built up before barrier wall can be installed for road crews to work behind. Barrier wall will be installed along the shoulders in the spring and summer. Two lanes of I-81 traffic in each direction will remain open during the project with periodic lane closures scheduled during nighttime hours or outside of peak travel times as needed. Drivers can expect the following lane closures and upcoming impacts on northbound and southbound I-81:
ADDITIONAL TRAFFIC IMPACTS:
- TRAFFIC SHIFT ON WILDWOOD ROAD: Expect a traffic shift with narrow width on Wildwood road after exiting I-81 southbound heading towards Salem. Southbound and northbound I-81 exit and entrance ramp narrows possible at Route 311.
- WORK ZONE SPEED: With narrow spacing in lanes due to barrier walls, lack of shoulders and lane shifts in various locations, drivers should adhere to posted 60 mph speed limits in the work zone and allow space when following a vehicle.
- RAMP CLOSURES: Ramp closures are possible during nighttime hours, 12 a.m., to 5 a.m. Drivers should watch for message boards dates and times the ramp will be closed.
- LANE CLOSURES: Alternating left and right lane and shoulder closures during nighttime hours between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., Sunday through Thursday, are possible. Lane widths will be reduced to 11 feet. Nightly lane closures may be in place along the right lane with possible nightly ramp narrows as needed for guardrail and shoulder strengthening.
The project also includes replacing six bridges, widening two bridges, installing approximately 2.6 miles of sound barrier walls along northbound I-81, improving the southbound exit 137 off-ramp intersection at Wildwood Road and adding interchange lighting at exits 137, 140 and 141 are also included in the project. Expected completion in early 2026.
(UPDATED 6-9-23) * I-81 NORTHBOUND AT EXIT 105 NEW RIVER BRIDGE REPLACEMENT IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY – Traffic on northbound I-81 has been switched onto the newly constructed bridge over the New River at the Montgomery/Pulaski County line. The old bridge is being demolished. Lane and shoulder closures may be in place near exit 105. Lane closure may be in effect during the week from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. Shoulder closures may be in effect at any time during the week. Slow rolls may be performed on I-81 in the north and southbound lanes from mile marker 98 to 109. Speed limit is reduced to 60 miles per hour in the work zone. Shoulder closures will remain in place though the duration of the project. Project completion is estimated by summer 2023.
- ROUTE 605 – There will be intermittent lane closures on Route 605 under the bridge and will be maintained by flagging operations.
- SLOW ROLLS: A slow roll operation may be in place daily, Monday through Friday, between mile marker 101 and 105 northbound and between mile marker 109 and 105 southbound, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Slow rolls may be utilized periodically on both the northbound and southbound lanes from mile marker 98-109 for structural steel deliveries and setting beams.
- LANE CLOSURES: Nighttime alternating lane closures will be in place on I-81 northbound between mile markers 104-106 from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. the following morning.
- ROUTE 605: Alternating lane closures and flagging operations will be present on Route 605, located under the New River Bridge, for work overhead on the bridge.
(UPDATED 5-12-23) * I-81 PAVING OPERATIONS – Weather permitting, crews will be performing paving operations along Interstate 81. Right and left lane closures may be in place along northbound and southbound lanes during nighttime hours, 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. Drivers should watch for moving vehicles and equipment. Expect possible delays.
(UPDATED 5-12-23) * I-81 BRIDGE DECK REPAIRS – Weather permitting, crews will repair bridge decks on Interstate 81. Between mile markers 170 to 95, right and left lane closures will be in place northbound and southbound during nighttime hours, 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. the following mornin00g. Drivers should watch for signs and expect possible delays