Sandy Myers 540-332-9201
Cellular: (540) 292-2500
Ken Slack 540-332-9264
Cellular: (540) 414-5670
April 21, 2009
ACCIDENT CLEAN-UP AND PAVEMENT EVALUATIONS TO OCCUR ON I-81 IN SHENANDOAH COUNTY
STAUNTON – 9:35 A.M. - Clean-up operations are underway on Interstate 81 in the vicinity of mile marker 284.7 in Shenandoah County due to a multi-vehicle accident that occurred in the southbound lanes around 11:30 p.m. on Monday, April 20. This location is between exit 291 at Route 651 in the Toms Brook area and exit 283 at Route 42 in the Woodstock area.
A tractor trailer in the accident was carrying HAZMAT material. Due to the combustible nature of this material both southbound and northbound lanes were closed for several hours this morning as crews stabilized the chemicals. Vehicles in the accident were on fire. Several vehicles not involved in the accident in the area of the HAZMAT area were evacuated.
Around 8:30 a.m. today both northbound lanes were reopened. Officials at the scene are still clearing the accident site in the southbound lanes.
Officials at the accident site state that once the accident site is cleared, the pavement in the southbound lanes will have to be washed to remove all HAZMAT chemicals. A small containment area in the median will be used to hold the washed material before it can be removed from the area. After that operation is complete, Virginia Department of Transportation officials will examine the pavement to determine if it was damaged from the heat from the vehicle fire. If the road is safe for traffic then the southbound lanes can be reopened. If the lanes need to be milled and paved it will be several additional hours before the southbound lanes can reopen.
As of 8:30 a.m. today both lanes are open on I-81, northbound at mile marker 284.7 in Shenandoah County. Both southbound lanes remain closed. A detour has been set up at exit 291, southbound onto Route 11. Motorists can reenter I-81 at exit 283 in the Woodstock area. Motorists in this area should expect major delays and may want to choose alternate routes. There is no estimate yet as to when the southbound lanes will reopen.
The VDOT Staunton District serves Frederick, Shenandoah, Clarke, Warren, Page, Rockingham, Augusta, Highland, Rockbridge, Alleghany and Bath counties.
Traffic alerts and traveler information can be obtained by dialing 511. In areas where 511 is unavailable, dial 1-866-MY511VA (866-695-1182) (TTY/TDD users, call 711). Traffic alerts and traveler information also are available at 511Virginia.org.
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