VDOT News - Salem



Jason Bond 540-387-5493

SAL 57

Feb. 8, 2022


SALEM, Va. – Starting in February and continuing into the early summer, work will be performed on the inside and outside shoulders along a five-mile section of both northbound and southbound Interstate 81 in Roanoke County and the city of Salem. The shoulder strengthening is a part of $179 million design-build project to widen both directions of I-81 between mile markers 136.6 and 141.8 from two to three lanes.

The shoulders will be built up before barrier wall can be installed for road crews to work behind. Drivers can expect the following lane closures and impacts on northbound and southbound I-81:

  • From mid-February to mid-April, daytime right shoulder closures between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday
  • From mid-March until mid-June, nighttime right lane and shoulder closures between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., Sunday through Thursday
  • From mid-May to mid-June, alternating left and right lane and shoulder closures during nighttime hours between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., Sunday through Thursday

The widening project will begin in early 2022 and be completed in early 2026.  Barrier wall will be installed along the shoulders in the spring and summer. Two lanes of I-81 traffic in each direction will remain open during the project with periodic lane closures scheduled during nighttime hours or outside of peak travel times as needed. 

The new lanes will be built at locations along I-81’s right and left shoulders. The project also includes replacing six bridges, widening two bridges and installing approximately 2.6 miles of sound barrier walls along northbound I-81. Improving the southbound exit 137 off-ramp intersection at Wildwood Road and adding interchange lighting at exits 137, 140 and 141 are also included in the project.

This project, which is being designed and built by Archer Western Construction, LLC of Herndon, is the first widening project of the Interstate 81 Corridor Improvement Program. The project is intended to increase capacity, lower crash rates, lessen delays, improve safety and enhance crash clearance times.

The I-81 Corridor Improvement Program was approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board in December 2018. The more than $2 billion package of targeted improvements was funded by the Virginia General Assembly and signed into law in spring 2019.

 Additional information about the I-81 Corridor Improvement Program is available at Improve81.org. VDOT has produced a podcast and a video to provide more information about the widening project between exits 137 and 141. These can be found on the News & Multimedia page of Improve81.org.

Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.

Page last modified: Feb. 8, 2022