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Oct. 26, 2009


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STAUNTON – A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Oct. 26 to mark the beginning of construction on the Interstate 81 truck climbing lane project in Rockbridge County.  Citizens, members of the transportation community and state and local representatives met to hear speeches and help break the soil at the Virginia Department of Transportation event.

The groundbreaking ceremony had several speakers including Virginia Secretary of Transportation Pierce Homer, Congressman Bob Goodlatte, Senator Emmett Hanger, Delegate Ben Cline, Virginia State Police Superintendent Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia Trucking Association President and CEO Dale Bennett, Rockbridge County Board of Supervisors Member Carroll Comstock and Lexington City Council Member David Cox.

The I-81 truck climbing lane is the first design-build project to occur in VDOT’s Staunton District. The contract value for the project is $74,213,533.63 with a completion date of Oct. 30, 2012. The design phase of the project began after the construction contract was awarded to W. C. English Inc. of Lynchburg, on Feb. 5, 2009 by the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB). Funding for the project comes from federal and state dollars.

Construction on the Interstate 81 truck climbing lane project is scheduled to begin in January 2010. The project is located on the northbound lanes of I-81 from mile marker 195.6 to 202.5 in the Fairfield area. The 6.97 mile-long project will add a truck-climbing lane in this location, replace the bridges at Route 716, Route 712 and Route 710 and improve existing left and right shoulders. Additional improvements and updates will also be made to meet current Federal Highway standards.

This project is in line with a resolution passed by the CTB in October 2006 that directed VDOT to implement a program of safety improvements to I-81, including construction of truck climbing lanes. This location is a top priority for construction.

Completion of the project will allow slower moving vehicles to stay in the right two-lanes and improve traffic management with wider shoulders and the use of an additional travel lane during traffic incidents.

For additional information on the I-81 Truck Climbing Lane project, go to, click on the Projects and Studies link and then click on Staunton.

The VDOT Staunton District serves Frederick, Shenandoah, Clarke, Warren, Page, Rockingham, Augusta, Highland, Rockbridge, Alleghany and Bath counties.


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