The Virginia Department of Transportation says the work requiring a detour on Interstate 81 North in Montgomery County has been completed early. The detour ended at approximately 6:30 this morning, April 11. All traffic may travel on northbound I81 and is no longer required to detour between Christiansburg Exit 118C and Dixie Caverns Exit 132.
The contractor will resume the remaining work using nightly lane closures Sunday through Thursday beginning at 10 p.m. each night until 6 a.m. the following morning until October 2014.
There are two public hearings tonight for a proposed Bedford County real estate tax rate hike and the Fiscal Year 2015 budget. The board of supervisors has advertised a real estate tax rate of 53 cents per $100 of assessed value. That is up 3 cents from the current rate. Supervisors say it will not necessarily go up that much, but it cannot increase any more than 3 cents.
The public also will be able to weigh in on the board of supervisors’ proposed budget for the year beginning July 1. The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Bedford Science and Technology Center on Edmund Street.
State police are investigating a Bedford County crash that killed a woman from Moneta Sunday morning. Police say it happened around 9:40 a.m. on Route 747, near Route 122. The investigation shows Shirley that Jean Branscome was traveling north in a 2004 Nissan Sentra, when the vehicle ran off the road and overturned. Branscome did not have on a safety belt at the time of the crash. She died at the scene.
The Virginia Department of Transportation says the left southbound lane of Interstate 81 in Roanoke County is closed between mile markers 132 and 133. A VDOT contractor working last night on a bridge had expected to be finished by 6:00 this morning. An equipment breakdown caused a delay in reopening the lane. Officials hope the closure will be lifted by noon.
General Motors has recalled more than 3 million vehicles due to power steering and/or ignition switch problems. That means area dealerships soon will be in the repair business hot and heavy, just in time for summer maintenance season. The problem right now is that the parts are not yet available for to fix the cars. GM’s website says, “We expect the first parts to be available beginning in April, with parts availability improving as time goes on.”
In the meantime, GM says not to carry anything on your key ring while the key is in the ignition. You should remove all key chains, key fobs and other objects, and only use the key. The website say, “If you are driving an affected vehicle, until the safety recall repairs have been performed, it is very important that you remove all items from your key ring, leaving only the vehicle key. The key fob (if applicable) should also be removed from your key ring.”
State police say a series of crashes on Interstate 81 a few miles southwest of Wytheville killed two people and seriously injured another person. It started when tractor-trailer overturned sometime before 3:30 a.m, coming to rest across the median and one travel lane. The truck driver was able to escape without injury before a passenger vehicle hit the truck. The driver of the passenger vehicle died on the way to the hospital. Police say moments after the first incident, a tractor-trailer traveling north on I-81 struck a guardrail left on the roadway from the original accident and ran off the left side of the interstate. It struck a bridge and crashed below onto Rt. 90 (Black Lick Road). The tractor-trailer caught fire upon impact. The driver of that rig died at the scene. A passenger was ejected from the sleeper cab and flown to a nearby hospital for treatment of serious injuries.
(Continue reading for State Police photos at the scene.)