Traffic alert: VDOT provides weekly highway construction update

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Va. (WJHL) — The Virginia Department of Transportation released its weekly highway construction information in Southwest Virginia for May 10-16.

Interstate projects

  • I-81 shoulder widening — A project to widen the shoulders of five section in Smyth County will continue the upcoming week. Locations affected by construction include I-81 northbound between mile markers 39.9 and 40.9; I-81 northbound between mile markers 33.7 and 32.2; I-81 northbound between mile markers 48.8 and 47.9; I-81 southbound between mile markers 53.9 and 54.7; and I-81 southbound between mile markers 34.2 and 32.8.
  • I-81’s Exit 17 improvement — Motorists should be aware of construction underway to improve I-81’s Exit 17 improvement. This includes the exit’s northbound on and off ramps along with improvements to a section of Route 75, reconstruction and relocation of Gravel Lake Road, lengthening the I-81 southbound on ramp and relocation of the frontage road located adjacent to the northbound Exit 17 off ramp. This is expected to be completed by Fall 2022.
  • I-81’s Exit 19 improvement — Several activities will be underway for Exit 19’s safety improvement project in Abingdon. This includes intermittent daytime lane closures on Empire Drive. The project aims to realign a portion of Empire Drive and add traffic signals at the intersection of Route 11. This is expected to be completed by Summer 2022.
  • I-77 Cove Creek bridge replacements — A project is in the works to replace the I-77 bridges over Cove Creek in Wythe County, located about 2 miles north of I-81 between mile markers 44 and 42. Motorists should expect an altered traffic patterns on I-77 southbound and periodic nighttime lane closures while the work is underway. These projects are expected to be completed by early 2023.
  • I-81 Atkins bridges — A project is underway in Smyth County to replace the bridges near mile marker 52 in the Atkins area. Motorists should be aware of shoulder closures through the work zone, nighttime lane closures and the possibility of lane closures on Route 11 beneath the bridges. This is expected to be completed by Fall 2022.
  • I-81 Reed Creek bridge replacements — Motorists in Wythe County should stay alert of narrowed lanes due to bridge replacements over Reed Creek. There will also be nighttime closures in the work zone located about 1 mile north of the I-77 split at I-81 Exit 81. Completion is expected by Fall 2021.

I-81 and I-77 maintenance activities

  • 24-house lane closure Monday through Friday due to bridge deck repairs north and southbound near Exit 72 in Wythe County
  • Nighttime roadway sweeping in Washington and Wythe counties
  • Nighttime lane closure due to pavement striping work north and southbound in Washington, Smyth and Wythe counties
  • Daytime bridge repairs on May 11 northbound between mile markers 58 and 59 in Wythe County
  • Nighttime bridge deck repairs northbound at mile marker 3.5 in Bristol, northbound at mile marker 25 and southbound at mile marker 16 in Washington County and southbound at mile marker 9.1 in Washington County
  • Daytime bridge deck repairs southbound near Exit 60 in the Wytheville area of Wythe County
  • Nighttime lane closures at Big Walker and East River Mountain Tunnel in Bland County due to tunnel maintenance. During the nighttime lane closures, wide loads over 12-feet must stop before entering the tunnel
  • Nighttime pavement striping work north and southbound in Bland and Wythe counties.

Primary highways and high-traffic secondary roads

Buchanan County

Route 460/121 Poplar Creek Phase A — Impacts on motorists are minimal because the majority of the work is on a new location; however, the project has created a permanent change for Route 614 (Woods Fork). Poplar Creek Phase A will split a portion of Route 614 and cul-de-sacs will be added on either end of Route 614 where it ends at the new highway, approximately 2.75 miles from Route 609 at Bull Creek and 1.25 miles from Route 604 at Poplar Creek. Access to the north and south ends of Route 614 will be via Routes 609 (Bull Creek Road) and 604 (Poplar Creek Road), respectively, which connect to Route 460 west of Grundy. 

Lee County

Route 58 truck climbing lane at Powell Mountain: A project to add a truck climbing lane to Route 58 at Powell Mountain in Lee County is underway. The project will add a 1,000-foot truck climbing lane to the west side of Powell Mountain, improving safety by providing motorists a safer way to pass trucks along the steep grade. Be alert to periodic delays and watch for workers. (Completion: September 2021)

Route 58 bridge over the Powell River: A new traffic pattern is in place across the Route 58 bridge over the Powell River near Jonesville in Lee County, with traffic now traveling on the newly constructed side of the bridge. Signals are controlling one-way traffic across the bridge. Use caution in this area and allow for slight travel delays. (Completion: Fall 2021)

Scott County

Route 23 access improvements/Park and Ride: North and southbound traffic through the Route 23 work zone in the Gate City/Moccasin Gap area of Scott County was restricted to one lane in each direction in mid-March and will remain closed for approximately two months. The closure allows crews to remove the current median and construct a new one. Allow extra travel time, especially during morning and afternoon hours when commuter traffic volumes are high. The project will improve access, as well as add a Park and Ride lot near the intersection of Route 23 and Route 619 (Filter Plant Road). Pay close attention to work zone signs and watch for workers. (Completion: Fall 2021)

Tazewell County

Tazewell Avenue Bridge Repairs (Bluefield): The Tazewell Avenue bridge in Bluefield will be closed to traffic April 30 and will remain closed approximately six months due to repairs. The bridge is located over Beaver Pond Creek between Walnut Street and S. College Avenue (Route 102). During repairs, motorists will use Walnut Street, Virginia Avenue, and S. College Avenue to detour.(Completion: Fall 2021)

Allegheny Street bridge improvements in Richlands: A project to repair and replace the Allegheny Street bridge over Big Creek in Richlands is underway and the bridge is closed to traffic. The bridge is located between 3rd and 4th Street and motorists are detouring using Route 67 and 5th Street, a distance of approximately .75-mile. (Completion: late June 2021)

Route 605 (Thompson Valley): The Route 605 road improvement project in the Thompson Valley area of Tazewell County will resume in the spring. (Completion June 2021)

Route 19 (Virginia Avenue) bridge over Wrights Valley Creek (Bluefield): Be alert to an altered traffic pattern on Route 19 at the bridge over Wrights Valley Creek near Bluefield due to reconstruction of the bridge. Use caution in the area and pay close attention to work zone signs. (Completion: July 2021)

Wise County

Route 646 (Coeburn Mountain Road: Until late June, a portion of Route 646 (Coeburn Mountain Road) in Wise County is closed from the intersection of Route 684 (Hall Orchard Road) to .46 miles northwest of Route 72 (Cranes Nest Road) to perform major slope repairs. Motorists should be alert to signs and message boards forewarning of the upcoming work. (Completion: late June 2021)

Wythe County

Route 664 (Glade Road) bridge: Due to replacement of the Route 664 (Glade Road) bridge over Reed Creek in Wythe County, the bridge is closed to traffic and will remain closed through spring 2022. Route 664 will be closed from .99-mile east of Route 711 to 1.06-mile east of Route 711. Be alert to detour signs that will be in place before the project begins. (Completion: Spring 2022)  

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