“We appreciate the patience and cooperation of those who use this section of I-81 each day. Once the project is complete, this section of the interstate will be safer and allow for better traffic flow,” said Robbie Williams, Salem District construction engineer.
Blasting for the $75.4-million truck climbing lane project began in May 2011. A total of 268 blasts were detonated and one million cubic yards of material was moved. The project is scheduled to be complete in November 2013.
This project will add a 12-foot continuous truck climbing lane to southbound I-81 between mile markers 120 and 125 and upgrades to the median and outside shoulder of I-81. It also includes the replacement of the southbound bridge on I-81 over Route 641 (Den Hill Road) and the reconstruction of two bridges over I-81 at mile markers 123 and 124.9.
Once completed, the project will enhance the safety of I-81 in this area by allowing slower moving vehicles in the right two lanes and providing wider shoulders.
During the blasting portion of the project, detours onto Route 11/460 and rolling road blocks were used to control traffic. Due to rainy weather in the spring, the original estimate given for blasting completion, Memorial Day 2012, was moved to late summer.
Additional nighttime detours along this section of I-81 are planned for late summer and into the fall for additional work on the project.