SALEM – In order to reconstruct an unstable slope on southbound Interstate 81 near mile marker 124 in Montgomery County, periodic blasting is scheduled to begin this week. This area is located within the truck climbing lane project work zone. Weather permitting, the first blast is scheduled for Wednesday, July 31. The contractors anticipate multiple blasts taking place over the course of several weeks.
As a safety precaution, slow roll lane closures during blasting will be in place on north and southbound I-81 beginning at approximately 10:30 a.m. State Police will slow traffic in both directions to keep the area near the blast clear of traffic. Once the blast has occurred, traffic will be released to travel at a normal speed. Drivers should expect delays.
Signs and message boards will be in place to alert drivers of the following traffic impacts during blasting:
· Traffic will be slowed on southbound I-81 beginning at mile marker 128 and northbound I-81, starting at mile marker 114 at approximately 10:30 a.m. 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 will control traffic on Route 636 (Seneca Hollow Road and Friendship Road) during blasting.
Future blasting dates will be scheduled on weekdays at approximately 10:30 a.m. as needed. Blasting dates will be announced as they are scheduled but are subject to change due to weather and work schedule.
On May 29, a crack was discovered in the slope of southbound I-81 near mile marker 124. Since that time, testing and surveying of the area has taken place to determine the best course of action for stabilizing the slope. The work will consist of removing approximately 25,000 to 30,000 cubic yards of material and typically each blast removes between 3,000 and 4,000 cubic yards. It will take several days between blasts for the material to be removed and drilling to take place for additional blasting.
Planned paving and bridge work on the truck climbing lane project will continue in conjunction with the slope repairs with the exception of brief delays when the explosives are detonated.
Work on the truck climbing lane project is expected to be completed in November 2013. For traffic information and updates, visit www.511Virginia.org.