In Design: Interstate 81 Weyers Cave Truck Climbing Lanes and Exit 235 Improvements (Mile Marker 234.1 to 237.9)

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This project adds a third lane to northbound Interstate 81 from mile marker 234.1 to 237.7, and southbound I-81 from mile marker 237.9 to 234.2. The project is primarily in northern Augusta County near Weyers Cave but extends about a mile into southern Rockingham County. The widening provides truck climbing lanes to the right side in each direction to reduce the likelihood of trucks slowing in the primary travel lanes on the steep grades. To minimize impacts, widening is to occur primarily to the inside and within existing right-of-way.

Little to no reconstruction of the existing travel lanes is anticipated. Some shoulder widening and reconstruction will be required for temporary traffic control. The northbound and southbound bridges over Naked Creek will be widened and rehabilitated.

This project also includes improvements at the interchange of I-81 and Route 256 (Weyers Cave Road) at exit 235. Specifically, the northbound and southbound deceleration lanes (off-ramps) and northbound acceleration lane (on-ramp) will be lengthened.

In 2019 Route I-81 through Weyers Cave had an average daily traffic count of 56,800 vehicles per day. By the design year of 2046 the estimated average daily traffic volume is 76,700 vehicles per day.

The total estimated cost of this project is $127.2 million including $10.8 million for preliminary engineering, $1.6 million for right of way and $114.9 million for construction.

This project is part of the Interstate 81 Corridor Improvement Program (CIP), which aims to improve safety, increase reliability and foster economic growth along the 325-mile corridor. The Commonwealth Transportation Board approved the I-81 CIP in December 2018. The $2 billion package of targeted improvements was funded by the Virginia General Assembly and signed into law in spring 2019. More information about the program is available at Improve81.org.

Benefits 

This project is among a series of corridor improvements to Interstate 81. It improves safety and traffic flow on I-81 near Weyers Cave in an area with steep grades northbound and southbound. Commercial vehicles climbing these grades will have an additional lane in order to minimize conflicts with traffic moving at higher speeds.

Major Milestones 

Design Approval – Fall 2022

Right of Way – Late 2023

Construction Advertisement – Late 2024

Resources

Contact Info:

Jennifer Hoover, P.E.
540-332-2264

Project Photos

Major funding source: I-81 Corridor Improvement Program

Phase: In Design

UPC: 116277, 116278

State ID: Northbound: 0081-007-017, B628, C501, D606, D607, P101, R201; Southbound: 0081-007-018, B643, C501, D608, P101, R201

Federal ID: NHPP-081-2(325), NHPP-081-2(326)

Lat/Long: 38.30028, -78.93028

Locality: Augusta and Rockingham

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Interstate 81 near Augusta-Rockingham County Line

Page last modified: Oct. 24, 2022