By Marty Gordon
The Virginia Department of Transportation has announced roadwork will begin this week to replace a pair of bridges that carry Interstate 81 over Route 8 at exit 114 (Christiansburg). The current bridges date to 1964.
Weather permitting, the speed limit on I-81 at exit 114 will be reduced to 60 mph. Later this spring, two temporary signals will be installed to control traffic on Route 8.
The estimated cost of the project is $34.9 million, and drivers can expect two lanes of Interstate 81 traffic in both directions to remain open for most of the project’s duration, but temporary nighttime closures and detours may be in place at times outside of peak travel hours.
According to VDOT, a new bridge will be built first and traffic shifted onto it before each old bridge is demolished and removed in order to keep two lanes of I-81 traffic open.
Motorists should expect some weekend detours along Route 8 during construction, which is expected to last 48 months.
Haymes Brothers Inc. of Chatham is the lead contractor on the project.
The 114 exit ramps will be modified in the construction to be more a diverging diamond.
The project is anticipated to be completed in fall 2021.
In another transportation note, a new signal light along Peppers Ferry Road in Christiansburg is now up and running. The traffic signal will improve access and safety on Quinn Stuart Boulevard.