Brenda Waters (276) 669-9999
Michelle Earl (276) 669-9901

July 21, 2006

INTERSTATE 77 TUNNEL TRAVEL VDOT suggests alternatives to avoid congestion during restoration
VDOT suggests alternatives to avoid congestion during restoration

BLAND COUNTY—In May, a $16.5 million restoration project began at the Interstate 77 mountain tunnels in Bland County.

The project, scheduled for completion in summer 2008, includes:

  • Replacement of tile on tunnel walls

  • Foundation and structural refurbishment

  • Ventilation, drainage and sidewalk repairs

With such extensive repairs comes the possibility of extensive backups. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) offers these suggestions:

- Morning travel is best: During the construction, traffic has been at its peak between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. VDOT recommends morning travel to avoid lengthy delays. If afternoon travel is a must, note that there will be no lane closures after 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays until Labor Day

- Detours can save time: Motorists traveling to or through Virginia can consider alternative routes:

  • Between West Virginia and Tennessee, Route 19 from Bluefield to Abingdon is suggested. The road is four lanes the entire length. Route 19 can be accessed off Interstate 81 Exit 14 at Abingdon and off I-77 Exit 66 at Bluefield.

  • Between Princeton, W.Va., and Blacksburg, Route 460 is suggested. It's four lanes for the entire length. Route 460 can be accessed off I-77 Exit 9 in West Virginia and off I-81 Exit 118B near Christiansburg.

  • Between North Carolina and West Virginia, motorists can use Route 52 from Wytheville to Rocky Gap. Route 52 is a curvy, mountainous road suitable for automobiles but not recommended for box trucks or larger vehicles. This is a reasonable alternative to traveling through the tunnels in the afternoon. It can be accessed in Virginia off I-81 Exit 70 and from Route 460 in Bluefield, W.Va.

Loads over 12 feet wide must use Route 460 as the detour during lane closures at the tunnels.

Before you begin your trip, call 511 Virginia for the current travel conditions. Motorists outside Virginia can dial (800) 578-4111, a toll-free number.

Log onto and sign up for a free alert that sends traffic incident information to your e-mail account.

Also, check, for lane closures. From the main page, click Travel Advisories, then select southwest Virginia from the map.

The list is updated weekly and provides the most up-to-date information about the I-77 tunnel work and other high-profile projects in southwest Virginia.


Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.

Page last modified: Oct. 17, 2012