Interstate 81 runs for 325 miles along Virginia’s northwest spine from West Virginia to Tennessee. This increasingly busy highway opened up mountainous, and formerly remote, parts of the state to a burgeoning national economy.
I-81 is essential to Virginia’s economic vitality and is one of the East Coast's most important highways. It’s a major thoroughfare for trucks carrying products from the Northeast to the Southeast and Southwest.
It’s Virginia’s longest interstate and has 90 interchanges. It connects to Interstates 64, 66 and 77. Construction started in 1957 and was completed in 1971.
I-81 is one of the top eight truck routes in the U.S. I-81 carries tourists, travelers, a growing number of intra-valley commuters, and more than a third of all college students in Virginia.
On some sections, the number of trucks nearly equals that of passenger cars. Studies are being done to determine how to handle the increased traffic.