Jason Bond 540-387-5493

SAL 180

May 23, 2012


SALEM – The weekday traffic detours due to blasting as part of the road construction project to add a truck climbing lane to southbound Interstate 81 in Montgomery County between mile markers 120 and 125 will continue after Memorial Day.

In early April, the Virginia Department of Transportation announced that the I-81 southbound detours required for weekday blasting may no longer be needed after Memorial Day.  This date was dependent on weather and how much rock and earth could be moved as part of the project during the weeks leading up to the holiday.

Rainy weather caused many blasting days to be cancelled in April and early May, so not as much progress on moving rock could be made as was anticipated.  Approximately a dozen more blasts are needed before the weekday detours may no longer be required.

Blasting detours on southbound I-81 will continue on weekdays after Memorial Day.  Weather permitting, the next scheduled blasting day will be Tuesday, May 29.  No blasting is scheduled on Monday, May 28 due to the Memorial Day holiday.

In the weeks ahead, the earthwork on the project may reach a point where rolling road blocks can be used instead of detours on southbound I-81.  These rolling road blocks will not require traffic to detour off the interstate and should be less disruptive to traffic.  

Blasting normally is scheduled on weekdays, Monday through Friday, at approximately 10:30 a.m.  No blasting is scheduled on Saturdays or Sundays.   Blasting may cause the following traffic impacts:

• Detonation of charges will be scheduled daily, Monday through Friday, between 10:30 a.m. and noon.
• Southbound I-81 traffic will be detoured off I-81 at exit 132 (Dixie Caverns) onto Route 11/460 and back onto I-81 at exit 118 (Christiansburg).  The detour will be implemented daily sometime between 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. and will be removed immediately once slopes have been scaled and the road is deemed safe for the traveling public.  State Police will assist with this detour.  A right lane closure will be in place on westbound Route 11/460 during the detour.  On some days, rolling road blocks may be used on southbound I-81 instead of a detour.
• On northbound I-81, a rolling road block starting at mile marker 114 sometime between 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. will be used to slow traffic.  During blasting, the on-ramps will be restricted onto northbound Interstate 81 at exit 118 (Christiansburg) and onto southbound I-81 at exit 128 (Ironto).
• Flaggers may control traffic on Route 636 (Seneca Hollow Road and Friendship Road) and on Route 641 (Den Hill Road) during blasting.

Work on the truck climbing lane project is expected to be completed in November 2013.

Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.

Page last modified: Oct. 17, 2012