Under Construction: Interstate 81 Widening Exit 137 to 141 - Roanoke County and City of Salem

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The purpose of this project is to provide additional capacity and improve safety by adding an additional lane in both directions of Interstate 81 between mile markers 136.6 and 141.8. 

In February 2022, work on the first widening project of the Interstate 81 Corridor Improvement Program began. It started on the inside and outside shoulders along a five-mile section of both northbound and southbound Interstate 81 in Roanoke County and the city of Salem. The shoulder strengthening is a part of $179 million design-build project to widen both directions of I-81 between mile markers 136.6 and 141.8 from two to three lanes.

This segment of I-81 experiences frequent congestion and major delays related to significant crashes and incidents as identified in the I-81 Corridor Improvement Plan completed in December 2018. Along this section of I-81 between October 2016 and September 2019, there were 312 crashes. Traffic volumes vary between interchanges and range between 63,000 and 67,000 vehicles per day with 21-22 percent heavy trucks.

This project is being designed and built by Archer Western Construction, LLC of Herndon. It will begin in early 2022 and expected completion is early 2026. 

The proposed improvements are intended to increase capacity, lower crash rates, lessen delays and enhance crash response times.  These include:

  • Adding one additional lane in each direction of I-81
  • Replacing the pairs of bridges over Route 112 (Wildwood Road), Route 635 (Goodwin Avenue) and Route 619 (Wildwood Road)
  • Widening the pair of bridges over Route 311 (Thompson Memorial Drive) at exit 140
  • Improving the intersection of the southbound exit 137 off ramp and Wildwood Road
  • Adding interchange lighting at exits 137, 140 and 141
  • Improving acceleration and deceleration lanes where needed
  • Installing concrete barrier wall along narrow median sections
  • Constructing approximately 2.6 miles of sound barrier walls along the northbound lanes

Virtual Design Public Hearing

A design public hearing was held as a virtual/online event in February 2021. VDOT representatives made a presentation and answered questions from the chat forum. The presentation was recorded and is now available for review. 

To access the recording and review meeting materials, click on the link below: 


The benefits of this project will be to increase capacity, lower crash rates, lessen delays and enhance crash response times on Interstate 81. 


Contact Info:

Craig Moore, P.E.

Lat/Long: 37.315440, -80.053531

Locality: Roanoke

Page last modified: Aug. 17, 2023