Update



Work to widen a busy two-mile stretch of I-81 to three lanes will begin this spring. VDOT says the contract was awarded this month to build a third lane between I-581 and Electric Road. It is the most heavily-traveled section of 81 in Virginia. The project should be complete by the summer of 2022. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more:

01-23 81 Widening Wrap2-WEB

News release: The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) at its January 15 meeting in Richmond awarded a contract to widen two miles of Interstate 81 in Roanoke County.

The contract for $27.3 million was awarded to Branch Civil, Inc. of Roanoke, to construct a third lane on northbound and southbound I-81 between exits 141 (Salem) and 143 (Roanoke).
The third lane will add capacity along a busy stretch of I-81 where motorists currently experience peak-hour delays due to the high volume of traffic entering and exiting the interstate.
Approximately 70,000 vehicles use this section of Interstate 81 each day making it the mostly heavily traveled section in Virginia.
Work is expected to begin on the widening project in spring 2020 and be completed in summer 2022.
The CTB included funding for this project in the Virginia Department of Transportation’s budget as result of the Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization submitting SMART SCALE applications in 2015 and 2016.
This funding is separate from the Interstate 81 Corridor Improvement Fund that the Virginia General Assembly established in 2019.