Sandy Myers 540-332-9201
540-292-2500 (cell)
Ken Slack 540-332-9264
540-414-5670 (cell)

Nov. 19, 2009


STAUNTON – At its November meeting, the Commonwealth Transportation Board awarded a median barrier project to enhance safety along the Interstate 81 corridor in the Harrisonburg area in the Virginia Department of Transportation Staunton District.  The VDOT Staunton District serves Frederick, Shenandoah, Clarke, Warren, Page, Rockingham, Augusta, Highland, Rockbridge, Alleghany and Bath counties.

The contract valued at $2,386,077.00 was awarded to MAKCO Inc. Charlottesville with a fixed completion date of July 31, 2010.  This project extends along a 10.35-mile narrow median section of I-81 from milepost 242.15 to 252.50 in Rockingham County.  This location starts north of exit 240 at Route 257 near Mount Crawford and Bridgewater and ends south of exit 257 at Route 11 in the Mauzy and Broadway area. The I-81median in this area is approximately 40-feet wide and has a ditch running down the center.

This project includes installing high tension cable guardrail in the median and replaces existing guardrail to help reduce crossover crashes.  The project also upgrades any substandard guardrail within the median and along the outside travel lanes. The project is designed to give added protection for vehicles from crossing the median into oncoming traffic.

Most of the work installing the median barrier is anticipated to be completed during nighttime hours using a single lane closure.

The use of high tension cable systems is new to Virginia and this is the first use in the Commonwealth. This new cable system can be used on steeper slopes than standard guardrail, and it works well on narrow medians since a single cable wall can protect both sides of the road.  This system also significantly reduces grading and drainage costs because it requires far less site preparation than standard guardrail.  

The 2005 traffic data on the I-81 northbound lanes in this area is 26,000 vehicles per day with trucks making up 27 percent of this amount.  For the I-81 southbound lanes in this area the count is 24,000 vehicles per day with trucks making up 25 percent of this amount.

Safety projects have been completed along several areas of I-81 in recent years.  Among these projects are the interchange reconfigurations at exit 247 in Harrisonburg at Route 33 and at exit 313 in Winchester at Route 50/522.  These reconfigurations reduce traffic conflicts in the ramp area under bridges at these interchanges.  Several other safety projects include the Maury River Bridge widening and Buffalo Creek Bridge widening in Rockbridge County and various ramp widening or extension projects in the Winchester and Frederick County area.  The I-81 Rockbridge County truck climbing lane project began construction in fall 2009.

All of these I-81 safety projects can be seen on the VDOT Projects and Studies page for Staunton District on the VDOT Web site at

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

Highway safety is everyone’s responsibility. Virginia’s highway safety partnership — the Virginia Department of Transportation, Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and Virginia State Police — challenges you to help prevent highway fatalities. Buckle up. Avoid distractions. Share the road. Drive drug- and alcohol-free. Obey speed limits.  For more information on the Highway Safety Challenge and things you can do to avoid becoming Virginia’s next traffic fatality, visit


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