By CALVIN PYNN
As part of a maintenance project to rehabilitate pavement on northbound Interstate 81 between mile markers 121 and 125 in Montgomery County, a multi-day detour is scheduled to begin Sunday, April 6 at 7 p.m.
According to VDOT spokesman Jason Bond, the detour will be in place 24 hours a day for approximately eight consecutive days. Traffic impacts will differ for day and nighttime hours during the detour.
Between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. each day, one lane of northbound I-81 will remain open for tractor-trailer traffic. All other traffic, including wide loads over 11 feet, will be detoured onto Route 11/460 at exit 118C in Christiansburg and return to northbound I-81 at exit 132 (Dixie Caverns).
From 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. each night, all northbound I-81 traffic will exit onto Route 11/460 at exit 118C in Christiansburg and return to northbound I-81 at exit 132.
According to Bond, signs and law enforcement officers will be in place to control traffic. Drivers should allow additional time to reach their destinations and expect delays.
Weather and work schedule permitting, the northbound lanes will open to traffic by Monday, April 14, at 6 a.m. After this date, the contractor will resume nightly lane closures to complete the work.
If weather conditions delay the work, the contractor may extend the detour plan into the day Monday, April 14 and Tuesday, April 15.
Before the detour is activated, mobile lane closures and short-term slow rolls may be utilized from 4 to 7 p.m. on northbound I-81 between mile markers 114 and 118. This will allow the contractor to prepare the detour route.
This $6.7-million maintenance project requires the contractor to excavate deep patches before replacing layers of stone and asphalt. The project will also include drainage structures and guardrail installations.
The Virginia Department of Transportation selected a traffic plan involving a detour to shorten the overall amount of time traffic would be impacted. The other option considered would have required long-term permanent lane closures on northbound I-81, therefore causing lengthy backups.
According to Bond, VDOT is expecting the project to be complete by spring 2015. However, the contractor estimates that most of the work will be completed by fall 2014.
Drivers are encouraged to call 511 or visit www.511Virginia.org for real-time traffic information. Twitter subscribers can receive 511 updates for the project area by following @511southwestva.