VDOT Seeking Input on Widening I-81 in Shenandoah County

The Virginia Department of Transportation will hold a public hearing concerning improvements to a portion of Interstate 81 southbound near the Town of Strasburg and the Shenandoah/Warren County line. The meeting will take place from 4:30 to 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 20, 2022 at Strasburg High School, 250 Ram Drive, Strasburg, VA 22657.


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 Ms. Pamela Bowman, 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, part of the Interstate 81 Corridor Improvement Program, will widen a portion of I-81 southbound near the Town of Strasburg and the Shenandoah/Warren County line. The project will construct an additional southbound lane between mile markers 295.4 and 299.6. The additional lane will be 12-feet wide with a 10 to 12-foot wide paved shoulder constructed on the median side of the highway.

This project will connect to a SMART Scale project on I-81 southbound, which extends the acceleration lane at exit 300, taking traffic from I-66 westbound to I-81 southbound. The exit 300 project, scheduled for construction between late summer 2022 and summer 2024, ends just south of (Route 840) Water Plant Road. The I-81 southbound Strasburg project is anticipated to begin when the exit 300 construction concludes.

As part of the I-81 southbound Strasburg project, the bridge over the CSX rail line will be widened and the existing substructure will remain. The entire bridge will receive a new deck and superstructure. The new superstructure includes beams, bridge deck, handrails, curbs and floor system.

The I-81 southbound bridge over Cedar Creek will be entirely replaced.

Overpass bridges at I-81 exit 296, Route 55 (John Marshall Highway), and at I-81 exit 298, Route 11 (Old Valley Pike), are within the project limits, in good condition, and not currently in need of replacement. Under these bridges the I-81 left-side paved shoulder width will be three feet at the exit 296 overpass and two feet at the exit 298 overpass. A pier protection system in front of the bridge piers will be installed at each of these locations.

The project may include approximately one mile of sound barriers along the I-81 northbound lanes. A final determination for sound barrier construction will be made once the design is further along. The final sound barrier location and length is yet to be determined.

Several battlefields, historical easements, and a cemetery are adjacent to the project. Work is anticipated to be within the existing variable width right-of-way to avoid impacts to these protected resources.

In 2019 I-81 southbound had an average daily traffic count of 29,000 vehicles per day. By the design year of 2047 the estimated average daily traffic volume is 42,000 vehicles per day.  

I-81 Corridor Improvement Program projects were selected following public input along with a data-based 2018 study of the I-81 corridor in Virginia. The study identified $4 billion of potential improvements with $2.2 billion funded through legislation passed by the Virginia General Assembly in 2019 [Chapters 837 and 846 (HB 2718 and SB 1716)]. The I-81 CIP plan was approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board in December 2019. The plan is updated annually in December

Interstate 81 Road Sign

Photo: Getty Images

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