VDOT says anyone using Interstate 81 between the Salem and Buchanan areas may encounter lane closures or detours in the next week, the result of repaving work and bridge deck repairs. Most of the work will occur during evening and overnight hours and on weekends, but some of it will spill over into weekday morning commutes. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more.

(Continue reading for full information from VDOT)


Drivers are encouraged to seek alternate routes to lessen congestion on I-81 

SALEM, VA – Weather permitting, extended lane and ramp closures have been scheduled on I-81 over the weekend and into next week for paving and bridge deck repairs in Roanoke and Botetourt County.

Beginning tonight, June 16, bridge deck repairs over Route 619 (Wildwood Road) on I-81 at mile marker 137 to 140 will require an extended 16 hour lane closure during the following times:

  • Friday, June 16, I-81 northbound right lane closed from 7 p.m. to 11a.m. the following morning.
  • Saturday, June 17, I-81 southbound right lane closed from 6 p.m. to 10 a.m. the following morning.
  • Friday, June 23, I-81 northbound right lane closed from 7 p.m. to 11a.m. the following morning.


Beginning tonight, Friday, June 16, a ramp closure and a right lane closure will be in place on I-81 as milling and paving operations are performed from mile marker 149 to 152 in Botetourt County. The extended weekend lane closures are scheduled as follows:

  • Friday, June 16, right lane closure from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 a.m. the following morning.
  • Saturday, June 17, right lane closure from 6 p.m. to 10 a.m. the following morning.
  • The on-ramp to I-81 north from Route 220 will be closed from 8 p.m. to 12 midnight during the extended lane closures. Drivers at the exit 150 interchange requiring access to northbound I-81 will need to use Route 11 to return to I-81 north at the exit 156 on ramp. A detour for access to Route 11 is currently in place at this interchange and signs are posted to guide motorists.

In addition, beginning Monday, June 19, through Thursday, June 23, from 6 p.m. each night to 10 a.m. each morning, a 16-hour extended lane closure is scheduled for the bridge deck overlay over the James River at mile marker 164 to 166. During the extended lane closures, all I-81 northbound lanes will be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. and traffic will be directed to follow the motorcycle detour routes already in place.

  • A motorcycle detour will be in place on I-81 northbound beginning at exit 162.  All motorcycles must exit I-81 northbound at Exit 162 and follow the motorcycle detour on Route 11 northbound to re-enter I-81 northbound at Exit 167.  This detour will be in effect continuously until October 2017.

Drivers should expect and are encouraged to use alternate routes when possible to alleviate congestion on I-81. These projects are expected to be completed in fall 2017.