DOT Awards Virginia $97.6 Million in Loans to Improve I-81

DOT Awards Virginia $97.6 Million in Loans to Enhance I-81

Heavy visitors on a stretch of I-81 in Virginia. (Virginia Division of Transportation)

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Virginia has $97.6 million in two new low-interest federal loans to enhance security and visitors flows alongside its rolling Interstate 81 that cuts by means of rural mountain areas in a essential trucking route linking southern financial areas and northeast markets.

The U.S. Division of Transportation introduced the funding award Dec. 12 from its Construct America Bureau, which financially assists communities throughout the nation by reducing prices of infrastructure initiatives by means of Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loans.

Polly Trottenberg, deputy transportation secretary, voiced assist for Virginia’s plan to enhance security and cut back visitors delays alongside the I-81 hall.

The monetary help will assist the agricultural challenge lengthen acceleration/deceleration and merge/diverge areas, making coming into and exiting the freeway safer and extra purposeful at numerous entry factors alongside I-81. It additionally will assist pay for I-81 enhancements in Roanoke County, together with including lanes and changing bridges.

I-81 is Virginia’s longest interstate, spanning 325 miles with 90 interchanges, together with connections to I-64, I-66, I-77, I-381 and I-581.

In keeping with the Virginia Division of Transportation, I-81 was designed to accommodate 15% truck visitors, however carries a median of 26% and as much as 35% vans in some areas. Almost 50% of the state’s worth of products ($312 billion yearly) is transported alongside the I-81 hall, which has the very best per capita truck quantity in Virginia with 11.7 million vans touring over I-81 yearly.

I-81 reaches from Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York to Canada.

Virginia is benefiting from the Construct America Bureau’s Rural Tasks Initiative that gives loans at half the Treasury charge and for almost half the challenge prices as an alternative of a customary 33%.

“We all know rural areas not solely have a disproportionately excessive charge of automotive crashes — additionally they typically lack the assets to make enhancements, which is why the Rural Challenge Initiative is so necessary to our broader efforts to reverse the disaster of roadway deaths taking place all around the nation,” Trottenberg mentioned.

The 2 federal transportation infrastructure loans will enable VDOT to finance and expedite a part of its $2.7 billion I-81 Capital Enchancment Program to finish 64 priority-funded initiatives (from 106 recognized) by the tip of 2033.

I-81 enhancements will goal initiatives that:

  • Widen so as to add a 3rd lane for security and capability that may be solely in a single course or each in north- and south-bound instructions.
  • Prolong lanes for acceleration/deceleration to present drivers extra time to regulate their speeds on entrance and exit ramps earlier than merging into interstate visitors or encountering sharper curves and stops on exit ramps.
  • Enhance curves by putting in static and/or flashing chevron indicators to inform drivers of upcoming sharp or difficult curves in high-crash areas.
  • Add truck climbing lanes to allow ascents at steep grades at decrease speeds whereas sustaining common visitors speeds for passenger autos.

Different focus areas for initiatives name for widening shoulders to extend lane security for vacationers and first-responders throughout emergencies (flat tires or inoperable autos) and establishing auxiliary lanes (often between two interchanges) so drivers can velocity up or decelerate when merging on/off I-81.

This 12 months, VDOT is scheduled so as to add 29 to the 16 accomplished I-81 hall enchancment initiatives.

Plans additionally include operational enhancements akin to digital message indicators to alert drivers in real-time about street incidents and various routes, and including visitors cameras to supply operations heart workers with emergency info to relay to vacationers by means of the VA 511 system.

“The Construct America Bureau exists to assist transfer initiatives of all sizes ahead,” Government Director Morteza Farajian mentioned. “Bureau loans can vary in measurement from $10 million as much as billions relying on the scale and traits of a challenge. Our crew will help customise essentially the most advantageous financing choices for a single transportation challenge or a bundle of multimodal enhancements in city, rural or tribal communities.”

Need extra information? Hearken to at present’s day by day briefing under or go right here for more information:


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