The Virginia General Assembly has ordered a study to find ways to improve I-81. That includes finding ways to finance the improvements. The action was approved by Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA) on April 4, 2018.
In a meeting on Tuesday, May 15, the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) discussed the I-81 corridor improvement plan. The goal is to reduce crashes along the road and identify segments of I-81 for improvement that would reduce congestion and delays caused by accidents.
Financing options could include tolls on the highway. According the legislative requirements in Senate Bill 971, those would be for heavy commercial vehicles and high-occupancy toll lanes. Legislators said the study shall not evaluate tolling options that apply to all users of I-81.
Public meetings will be held in June at several locations. Those meetings will take place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Here is a list of dates and locations:
- June 6 – Bristol – Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center
- June 7 – Salem – Salem Civic Center
- June 12 – Staunton – Strasburg High School
- June 13 – Staunton – Blue Ridge Community College
Additional public meetings will be scheduled in July and August for development recommendations and in September and October to present the recommended corridor plan. The final report is due to the General Assembly on Nov. 30, 2018. The minutes from Tuesday’s meeting can be found on the CTB’s web site.