Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is hosting a public meeting on Wednesday, April 20 to discuss and accept comments on the design for I-81 southbound improvements near Strasburg and the I-81 and I-66 interchange.
The proposal adds a lane to southbound I-81 on the median side of the highway from mile marker 295 to 300 and connects to another project already in the works that extends the acceleration lane for vehicles entering southbound I-81 from westbound I-66.
After more than a decade of pushing back against destructive mega-widening plans for I-81, we do not readily support plans to add extensive pavement to the Interstate. But, this improvement project was identified among others as part of the I-81 Corridor Improvement Study back in 2018. If you remember, the Alliance supported that final plan because the study’s process identified targeted solutions to address specific problems, and it involved extensive community input. You can look back at the justification for the proposed improvement in this diagram taken from the plan (also pictured below).
In VDOTs website description of the project, they acknowledge what we know – there are sensitive natural, historic and cultural resources along this section of the corridor including Cedar Creek battlefield and the creek itself. We have not seen the detailed project design plans, but VDOT notes that all work will be within the existing right-of-way to avoid impacts to these resources. Once we see the final plans, we’ll be in touch with any concerns. In the meantime, we hope that community members will take the time to share thoughts with VDOT! Comments can be made at the public meeting or via this form on VDOT’s website by April 30.