Sandy Myers 540-332-9201
Cellular: (540) 292-2500
Ken Slack 540-332-9264
Cellular: (540) 414-5670
June 30, 2009
SAFETY UPGRADES CONTINUE AT I-81 AND ROUTE 33 INTERCHANGE IN ROCKINGHAM COUNTY
On Monday, June 29, the Route 33 traffic signal was placed into full operation. The southbound onramp to I-81 was closed permanently and traffic was switched to the new pattern. Message boards are in place indicating the new traffic pattern,
Motorists are urged to drive with caution in the area of the new signal as drivers become acquainted with its operation and the new traffic pattern.
All work is weather permitting.
The I-81 exit 247 project improvements include removing the cloverleaf northwestern loop, which is the on-ramp for traffic entering I-81 from Route 33 westbound lanes. In its place a 350-foot left-turn lane will be constructed on Route 33 near the existing southwestern ramp. At this location a new crossover and traffic signal will be installed, which will allow Route 33 westbound traffic to turn left to access southbound I-81 using a new short connector to the current southwest ramp. Eastbound Route 33 traffic entering the southwestern ramp will yield to vehicles entering the ramp using the new connector.
Additionally, the deceleration lane for traffic leaving southbound I-81 for Route 33 west will be extended 200 feet with an additional 180-foot taper. This will provide motorists using this I-81 off ramp more time to reduce their speed and enhance safety.
The project will improve the traffic pattern at the I-81 and Route 33 interchange at exit 247 in Harrisonburg. The interchange was constructed in the late 1950s in a cloverleaf configuration. Currently the I-81 southbound side of the interchange is experiencing twice the number of accidents as the northbound side. With this interchange configuration, the right I-81 southbound lane services traffic both exiting and entering Route 33, creating a weaving traffic pattern. This conflict point in the right I-81 southbound lane is the location of many traffic accidents.
The VDOT Staunton District serves Frederick, Shenandoah, Clarke, Warren, Page, Rockingham, Augusta, Highland, Rockbridge, Alleghany and Bath counties.
Traffic alerts and traveler information can be obtained by dialing 511. In areas where 511 is unavailable, dial 1-866-MY511VA (866-695-1182) (TTY/TDD users, call 711). Traffic alerts and traveler information also are available at 511Virginia.org.
Highway safety is everyone’s responsibility. Virginia’s highway safety partnership — the Virginia Department of Transportation, Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and Virginia State Police — challenges you to help prevent highway fatalities. Buckle up. Avoid distractions. Share the road. Drive drug- and alcohol-free. Obey speed limits. For more information on the Highway Safety Challenge and things you can do to avoid becoming Virginia’s next traffic fatality, visit www.safeVAhighways.org.
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.