U.S. 33 lanes to close for bridge work

new bridges shenandoah county

The eastbound lanes of U.S. 33 on the Interstate 81 overpass in Harrisonburg will be closed Monday night as the Virginia Department of Transportation’s bridge replacement project continues.

The road will be closed from 8 p.m. Monday until about 5 a.m. Tuesday between Carlton Street and Linda Lane. The ramp from eastbound U.S. 33 to southbound Interstate 81 will remain open.

A detour will be in place for through traffic, using South Carlton and Reservoir streets, Evelyn Byrd Avenue and Burgess Road. VDOT advises motorists on I-81 who need to get to U.S. 33 to use Exit 247B.

All work is weather permitting.

VSP begins traffic safety initiative

VSP official patch and logo used by permission by Information Officer Brent Coffey

The Virginia State Police are beginning their traffic enforcement and safety initiative “Operation DISS-rupt” along the 325 miles of Interstate 81 through Virginia on Thursday and Friday.

The VSP will focus on:

  • Distracted driving
  • Impaired driving,
  • Speed compliance
  • Seat belt safety.

A similar effort was put into place on February 12th and 13th and led to 343 speeding citations.

Lt. Col. Matt Hanley, director of VSP Bureau of Field Operations said, “This spring we have continued to see dangerous driving behaviors on Virginia’s highways, and our goal is to “diss-rupt” them. We’re working to get Virginia back to the basics of traffic safety, which includes getting motorists to slow down, share the road and drive distraction free.”

So far this year, 225 Virginians have died on roadways.

The operation’s goal is to achieve zero fatal crashes during the enforcement period and reduce the total number of crashes on interstates in the calendar year by 10%.

Some driving behaviors highlighted in the announcement include:

  • ditching distractions by using hands free devices
  • utilizing proper seat belt safety
  • complying with speed limits
  • never driving while impaired

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Man arrested; 123 pounds of pot confiscated

VSP official patch and logo used by permission by Information Officer Brent Coffey

A New York state man was arrested after troopers found 123 pounds of marijuana in his vehicle during a Wednesday traffic stop, State Police said.

The traffic stop was initiated for speeding and following too closely on Interstate 81 in Rockingham County. During the stop at mile marker 246, the driver, Jun Yan of Fresh Meadows, N.Y., consented to a search of his Toyota Sienna.

During the search, Virginia State Police discovered 123 boxes containing vacuum sealed packages of marijuana.

The 45-year-old Yan faces charges of possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute and transporting more than 5 pounds of the drug into the state. In all, 123 pounds of marijuana with a street value of over $500,000 was confiscated.

Yan has been transported to the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Regional Jail and is being held without bond.

Crashes and suicidal threats disrupt I-81 in Martinsburg

West Virginia state seal. Used by written permission by Chief Deputy and Chief of Staff of West Virginia Chuck Flannery

Traffic on Interstate 81 through Martinsburg faced multiple disruptions on Wednesday evening stemming from different incidents.

The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department received reports of a man threatening to jump off the Hammonds Mill Bridge over 81 at approximately 6:40 pm.

Deputies arrived on the scene and slowed traffic but reopened the road when they could not locate the male.

Then at 6:53 pm, a man matching the description of the person of interest was located at a nearby Sheetz and taken into custody without incident.

Joseph S. Jimenez, 35, was arrested and charged with a warrant for destruction of property.

Shortly after the interstate was reopened, a tractor trailer collided with a blue sedan and white SUV near mile marker 15.

The driver of the sedan was ejected from his vehicle and flown to a regional trauma center in critical condition.

A white SUV flipped onto its side after colliding with the tractor trailer as well.

The crash is still under investigation.

Then around 7 pm, a tanker truck overturned near mile marker 15 which shut down the interstate until 2:03 AM on Thursday.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

I-81 Auxiliary Lane Project begins near Staunton

crossover boulevard bridge

The Virginia Department of Transportation began the Interstate 81 Auxiliary Lane Project November 20th near Staunton.

Northbound and southbound traffic on I-81 will be lowered to 60 miles per hour between mile marker 220 and 221.5.

The work-zone speed limit will remain in place for the duration of the 18 month auxiliary lane project.

Route 635 (Barterbrook Road) south of exit 221, will close next week and remain closed until completion of construction.

During bridge construction, motorists will need to follow a 13-mile detour.

The full detour route follows:

  • West of the bridge (Staunton side), drivers will go west on Route 635, south on Route 11 (Greenville Avenue/Lee-Jackson Highway), south on Route 262 (Woodrow Wilson Parkway), north on I-81, east on I-64 to exit 91 (Fishersville), south on Route 285/608, and then west on Route 635 to the end of the detour.
  • East of the bridge (Fishersville side), drivers will go east on Route 635, north on Route 608/285, west on I-64, south on I-81 to exit 220 (Staunton), north on Route 262 (Woodrow Wilson Parkway), north on Route 11 (Lee-Jackson Highway/Greenville Avenue), and then east on Route 635 to the end of the detour.

Once completed, an auxiliary lane on 81 will help connect the I-64 junction with exit 220.

The bridge replacement provides additional space for merging and exiting traffic.

Building a new bridge also allows for future widening of I-81 and will reduce the cost and duration of the entire full project.

The contract was originally awarded to Fairfield-Echolls of Fishersville for $7.7 million in October, earlier this year and is scheduled for completion by October of 2025.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

VDOT schedules lane closure for I-81 in Warren County

road improvements

The Virginia Department of Transportation is scheduled to pour concrete for the widening of Route 840 (Water Plant Road) over I-81 southbound in Warren County on Tuesday, September 19.

The work requires the overnight lane closure of the left lane from 8 pm to 7 am from mile marker 298 to 300, near the I-81 and I 66 junction.

This is a regularly congested area so motorists should use caution when traveling through the work zone.

Drivers using Route 840 should be alert for flagger controlled traffic at the overpass bridge during the time of the scheduled work.

The bridge widening is part of the larger project to extend the on-ramp from I-66 to ease congestion and enhance safety.

The contract was originally awarded to Triton Construction for $7.1 million in May of 2022 with completion scheduled for November of 2024.

For up to date travel information, head to 511virginia.org.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Delays expected near VA-WV line tonight 8/17

crossover boulevard bridge

Motorists traveling northbound on Interstate 81 near the Virginia-West Virginia line may experience traffic delays this week with pavement repair scheduled in West Virginia.

The first work period will take place in the overnight tonight Aug. 17 from midnight to 6 am with minimal delays expected.

The second work period will begin at 6 pm on Wed. Aug. 17 until midday Thurs. Aug. 18  with significant delays anticipated.

Drivers entering 81 from exit 323 will come to a complete stop before entering the interstate.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will monitor traffic backups and may recommend alternate routes if necessary.

Alternate routes may include Route 37 to 522 northbound or connecting to Route 340 from Route 7 or I-66.

Monitor travel conditions 24 hours a day 365 days a year in Virginia here in West Virginia here be sure to refresh the pages each time you open them.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

Emergency bridge repairs on I-81

crossover boulevard bridge

Emergency bridge repairs will take place on Interstate 81 at exit 247 following a hit and run bridge strike on June 6th.

Repairs will begin in Harrisonburg at 8 pm on Saturday and continue into Sunday morning.

After the incident, inspections were made which showed surface beam damage but the ramps and bridges were safe for traffic.

VDOT crews will perform barrier placement, guardrail and curb work on the Route 33 bridge over I-81.

This work will leave the acceleration lane narrowed and shortened until the bridge is replaced.

VDOT plans to award contracts to replace both Route 33 bridges later this year.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

VDOT plans sinkhole repairs in Shenandoah County

crossover boulevard bridge

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is urging motorists to make plans for upcoming sinkhole repairs in Shenandoah County.

According to an email from VDOT permanent repairs to the sinkhole at mile marker 268 will begin Wednesday at 7 p.m. and may extend into Thursday June 9.

The work may temporarily shut down northbound lanes between New Market and Mount Jackson.

Timing of the work is unknown until crews begin excavation.

No detour route is planned but should traffic backups occur VDOT recommends using Route 11 at exit 257 and rejoining 81 at exit 269.

A temporary patch has been in  place at the location since May 27 and has been monitored.

The work zone will begin at mile marker 266 to marker 269 starting Wednesday at 7 p.m. and remain in place until work is complete.

The exit at 264 will be closed at Route 211 in New Market due to tight turning areas for trucks trying to access Route 11 north.

Up to the minute travel information is readily available at all hours here.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.

High speed chase through Frederick County

An email from Virginia State Police reports pursuit of a Chrysler on Interstate 81 from mile marker 303 to exit 302 at high rates of  speed.

At one point the Chrysler slammed on its breaks causing a tractor trailer to slam into its rear.

Using the emergency crossover the Chrysler sped back onto northbound 81 and exited at the 302 location.

Speeds reached over 100 miles per hour down Reliance Road.

The Chrysler at one point crossed the double yellow line to pass several cars before losing control running off the road.

The Chrysler struck two trees which fell on the pursuing trooper’s vehicle.

A passerby assisted the trooper to remove the driver of the smoking and damaged Chrysler.

The driver of the Chrysler, Damon S. Smith of Winchester was taken to Winchester Medical Center for treatment of serious injuries.

The 38 year old Smith faces a number of charges including felony eluding, driving suspended and reckless driving.

Other charges include aggressive driving, operating an uninsured vehicle, expired registration and various infractions during the pursuit.

No other injuries were reported in the incident which remains under investigation.

For more news from across the Shenandoah Valley, click here.