As part of Virginia’s $2 billion Interstate 81 Corridor Improvement Program, the Virginia Department of Transportation has launched a new website detailing projects that are underway and planned. As most jurisdictions in the Commonwealth have entered Phase Three of the “Forward Virginia” plan for easing health restrictions due to the coronavirus, traffic volume is beginning to increase on our roadways. Transportation planners and the traveling public can find information on Interstate 81 (I-81) projects at Improve81.org. The website offers information on 64 funded operational and capital improvement projects that are expected to result in 450 fewer crashes and 6 million fewer hours of delay each year. Improvements include traffic cameras and changeable message signs, lane extensions and curve improvements, as well as adding or widening lanes in some sections of the corridor.
The website contains a number of useful features, including:
- An interactive map with detailed project information, including locations and construction timelines
- I-81 Committee agendas and meeting minutes
- Planning documents, financial reports, and related transportation studies
- Opportunities to provide input, interact on social media, and subscribe to the project’s e-newsletter
“This is a one-stop-shop for information about I-81,” said I-81 Program Delivery Director David Covington, P.E. “If you want to know the who, what, where, when, why and how – this is the site to visit.”
Historic legislation passed by the Virginia General Assembly in 2019 secured dedicated funding for the 325-mile Virginia I-81 corridor. Funded projects were identified under a data-driven study conducted in 2018. The study resulted in a list of $4.2 billion in potential projects included in a report to the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB). Project priorities are reviewed by the I-81 Advisory Committee, who provide advice and recommendations to the CTB regarding implementation of the I-81 Corridor Improvement Program.
Completion of the current 64-project list will take approximately 13 years. The goal of I-81 Corridor Improvement Program is to improve travel times, increase safety, and encourage economic development.