There is no debate over the need to address safety issues and congestion problems on specific portions of I-81 throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.
There is no debate over the need to address safety issues and congestion problems on specific portions of I-81 throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. However, there is great disagreement about the most cost-efficient and lowest impact approach to addressing safety and congestion problems on the corridor.
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has won Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approval for a plan to a massive expansion of the highway at a cost of $11.4 billion.
The VDOT plan calls for eight to 12 lanes on 69 percent of I-81 and at least six lanes on the remaining portion. Additionally, the project would depend on tolls on cars and trucks, at the expense of business and residents along the entire corridor.
Costly and destructive widening is not needed to meet the safety and congestion needs on I-81 for the next 30+ years.
The Shenandoah Valley’s state legislators and county supervisors, along with business groups and citizens organizations have called for an alternative plan that is less costly and more targeted to specific safety and congesting issues, and more effective at moving goods and people throughout the corridor.