I-81 Exit 150 Improvement Project
Project at a Glance
The I-81 Exit 150 improvement project has been designed to improve the safety and traffic flow at the existing intersection and associated northbound movements from and to Interstate 81 that have a direct impact on routes 11, 220 and 220A.
The improvement project entails the following:
- Relocating the northbound I-81 entrance ramp (from northbound Route 220 onto northbound I-81) to a new location adjacent to the Exit 150B off-ramp
- Creating a dedicated Exit 150B off-ramp with NB Route 220 to improve traffic flow at the Route 11/220/220A intersection
- Modifying Exit 150A to allow right turns onto Route 11 southbound only and eliminating hazardous merge/weaves
- Constructing a roundabout at the Exit150B/Route 11 (click here to see the roundabout design) intersection to improve traffic flow, enhance safety and increase capacity
- Building a new road, Gateway Crossing, to connect the new Route 11 roundabout to Route 220 Alternate
- Modifying business access on Route 11 by installing a raised median and reducing the number of entrances
- Modifying the entrances onto Route 11 as right-in/right-out only
- Acquiring the Travel Center America property and a portion of the Painter parcel which contains the business tenant known as Gene’s Trading Post is being acquired which necessitates the relocation of this business.
Current Traffic Impacts
TRAFFIC ALERT DECEMBER 2016:
On December 20, Route 11 from Gateway Crossing to the intersection of Route 220 and Route 11 will be closed to through traffic. Gateway Crossing will detour traffic off of Route 11 and drivers will need to watch for signs to direct them through the interchange. This phase of construction with the traffic switch is expected to be completed in summer 2017.
Detours for access to Route 11, Alternate Route 220 and Route 220 will be as follows:
- All traffic accessing Alternate 220 or Route 11 from I-81 will use exit 150 A.
- All traffic accessing Route 220 northbound towards Fincastle from I-81 will use exit 150 B. No other access will be available from this exit.
From Route 11:
- Route 11 southbound traffic will use Gateway Crossing to Alternate 220 to return to southbound Route 11.
- Route 11 northbound traffic will use Alternate 220 to Gateway Crossing to return to northbound Route 11.
- Access to businesses on Route 11 located between Gateway Crossing and the intersection of Route 11 and Route 220 will be available to local traffic only. A barricade will be in place on southbound Route 11 preventing through traffic.
During this next phase of construction, crews will be working on the new roundabout and the new on-ramp to I-81 northbound. Drivers may see periodic lane closures on Gateway Crossing and Route 11 in the construction area of the roundabout.
TRAFFIC ALERT OCTOBER 2016:
Lane closures are scheduled on Alternate Route 220 for the installation of a new traffic signal and its structures and turn lanes in both directions in preparation for the opening of Gateway Crossing by the end of the year. These lane closures will be in place until Gateway Crossing is complete.
TRAFFIC ALERT MAY 2016:
A new traffic pattern is in place. The change occurred in May 2016 and will be in place through the fall. The new traffic pattern involves reconfiguring lanes on northbound and southbound Route 11. This traffic pattern change is needed to allow for drainage work and the installation of curb and gutter. Signs and message boards will direct traffic.
TRAFFIC ALERT DECEMBER 2015: The exit 150B off-ramp on I-81 northbound is narrowed to one lane of travel on the ramp for access onto Route 11 towards Route 220. The right turning lane on the off-ramp is closed from the deceleration lane off of I-81 until the merge of the ramp onto Route 11 towards Route 220. All lanes on Route 11 will remain open. The right lane is scheduled to be closed until late summer as work on Phase I of the project continues. Signs direct traffic and barrels are present. Drivers approaching the area are encouraged to slow down and use caution in the work zone.
Potential Traffic Impacts
During the first year of the project, traffic impacts on the road construction project will be minimal and most will be during nighttime hours. Gateway Crossing, the new connection between Route 11 and Route 220 Alternate, will be under construction during this phase. Much of this work will be out of public view as it is on new alignment and will not impact traffic.
Traffic impacts during the first year may include:
- Periodic nighttime lane or shoulder closures on Route 220 Alternate, Sunday through Thursday 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
- Shoulder closure and short-term nighttime right lane closures on northbound Route 11 for new intersection tie-in
- Periodic flagging operations on Route 11 near Country Cookin' for frontage road construction
- Possible narrowing during nighttime hours on the northbound Route 11 off-ramp
Driving Simulation for Exit 150
Interactive Roundabout Navigation
Summer 2009: A Citizen’s Information Meeting was held at Lord Botetourt High School to present stakeholder's alternatives for improving traffic flow around the intersection.
Summer 2010: An alternative study was finalized with recommended preferred alternatives.
Summer 2012: A Public Hearing was held at Lord Botetourt High School. The public comment period for this project has ended, but links to the public hearing information can be found below:
Summer 2012: A conceptual design was approved by the Federal Highway Administration.
Spring 2013: Right of Way acquisition began.
Summer 2014: The final design of the project was completed.
Fall 2014: The Right of Way acquisition was completed.
November 20, 2014: A public information meeting was held for the county to share information about the project and to answers questions from the community.
View the presentation that was made at the Public Information Meeting or you can download the presentation and the brochure below.
December 2014: The project was advertised for constructions bids.
December 2014 - March 2015: A series of meetings were held with various civic and community organizations as well as business owners in the area.
March 2015: The project was awarded to Branch Highways, Inc.
Spring 2015: Construction began.
July 2015: Demolition of buildings began. It was completed by fall 2015. Demolition was performed under a VDOT statewide contract for building demolition outside of the Branch Highways construction contract.
The estimated date of completion of this project is fall 2017.
Incidental work is expected to continue through summer 2018.
Phases of Construction
- Construction of the new intersection of Gateway Crossing with Route 220A to include turn lanes and a traffic signal
- Construction of Gateway Crossing and half of new roundabout
- Construction of the majority of the new NB 150B off-ramp and widening along Route 11
- Construction of 500 feet of new frontage road along Route 11 at Kangaroo Express and Country Cookin’
- Gateway Crossing and new intersection with Route 220A open to traffic.
- Construction of the remainder of new NB 150B off-ramp and construction of the majority of the NB 150B on-ramp.Construction of approximately half of the roundabout.
- SB Route 11 is reduced to one lane and re-routed onto the new Gateway Crossing to connect to 220A. SB Route 11 closed to through traffic (approximately an 8-month duration). Additional turn lanes will be provided as needed for entry into businesses.
- NB Route 11 starting at the 220/220A intersection will be closed to through traffic. NB Route 11 will be reduced to one lane to local traffic only. NB Route 11 through traffic will be re-routed to Route 220A onto Gateway Crossing to return to NB Route 11.
- Barricade walls and barrels will be used to narrow 150B off-ramp. A vehicle width restriction of 12 feet will be in place for approximately two months. Wider vehicles will be re-routed to either exit 146 or exit 156.
- Exit 150B with access to NB Route 11 (left turn onto Route 11) will be closed to through traffic.
- NB I-81 traffic exiting to NB Route 11 will be detoured through exit 150A during the project for approximately 3 months.
- Although there will be impacts to local business traffic, access to businesses will remain open. Businesses along Route 11 between the roundabout and the Route 220 intersection will have access from the 220/220A intersection and from Exit 150B.
- New NB I-81 from Route 11 on-ramp open. Old NB I-81 on-ramp from Route 220 closed. Extend NB Route 220 right lane to access SB I-81
- Roundabout open to traffic and Route 11 through traffic closure removed.
- Installation of new barrier wall on exit 150A off-ramp to allow right turn only onto SB Route 11
- Construction of raised right-in/right-out raised median along Route 11 between the Route 11/220/220A intersection and the roundabout
The video below demonstrates the new flow of traffic after the improvement project is completed.
Why a Roundabout?
- Allows two lanes from 150B Exit Ramp to Gateway Crossing
- Geometry is designed for truck traffic
- Enhanced safety
- 35% Reduction in Crashes
- 76% Reduction in Injuries
- Reduction in severity of crashes
- Slower speeds are generally safer for pedestrians
- Intersection Efficiency
- Easy access to and from I-81
- Increased Traffic Capacity with the elimination of left turns
- Reduced delay with no stopping at a traffic signal
- Reduction of air pollution
- Decrease in fuel consumption
- Additional lighting and landscaping
- Gateway into Botetourt County
- Low Construction and Maintenance Costs
- U-Turns are Allowed
For more information, visit our web page about roundabouts.