RD495 - Final Report: List of Corridor Projects Along the Interstate 81 to Address Safety and Congestion - December 15, 2015

Executive Summary:
Pursuant to Item 427 L 1 and 2 (Item 427 L) of the 2014 Appropriation Act, the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) was required to direct the Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT) Bristol, Salem and Staunton districts to identify projects along the I-81 corridor in Virginia that address safety and congestion concerns as part a statewide prioritization process pursuant to § 33.1-23.5:5(*1) of the Code of Virginia (See Appendix A). Item 427 L further requires the CTB to solicit input from local elected officials, state legislators, and other affected stakeholders in the identification of potential candidate projects for evaluation. The CTB is to give priority to projects that minimize the impacts on adjacent communities, such as historic battlefields, and to projects that can be implemented within the existing right-of-way or with minimal additional right-of-way.

An interim report including a list of safety and congestion projects and estimated costs from the FY 15-20 Six Year Improvement Program was completed in November 2014 and provided to members of the Virginia General Assembly in December 2014. This final report, required by Item 427 L, contains a list of projects developed using factors described in the report.

In April 2015, the VDOT Bristol, Salem and Staunton District Offices developed a candidate project list that contained 105 recommendations totaling approximately $6 billion. Subsequently, a series of four meetings was held throughout the corridor for the purpose of obtaining input from local elected officials, state legislators and other affected stakeholders relating to issues and deficiencies along the corridor. These meetings commenced in June of 2015, with the first being hosted by the Secretary of Transportation, and culminated with a final meeting in September.

The 105 project list was later revised, utilizing factors further described in this report, to a list of 41 smaller break-out projects totaling approximately $1.5 billion. VDOT District staff coordinated with the MPOs, PDCs, and local governments along the I-81 Corridor while developing these 41 candidate projects. Project categories included:

• Bridges / Structures
• Acceleration / Deceleration
• Interchange Modifications
• Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)
• Pavement Reconstruction
• Safety
• Mainline Widening
• Truck Climbing Lanes

The list of projects was shared with the Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), Planning District Commissions (PDCs), and localities for consideration as part of the HB2 application submittal process for potential inclusion in the Six Year Improvement Program to be adopted by the CTB in June 2016. This list of projects has been presented and reviewed by State Legislators, MPOs, PDCs, and localities along the I-81 corridor. Their comments and their cost adjustments were taken into consideration in preparing the list as set out in Appendix B.

Also, a list of the final candidate HB2 projects submitted by the September 30, 2015, deadline by the eligible stakeholders has been provided in Appendix C. A total of fourteen I-81 candidate projects were submitted corridor-wide under the HB2 process with an estimated value of $492 million. Due to the mandate of Item 427 L1-2 (Item 427 L) of Chapter 2 of the 2014 Acts of Assembly (Special Session I), that a final report be submitted by January 1, 2016, the results of the screening and scoring are not included in this report as the HB2 screening and scoring is not anticipated to be completed until sometime in January 2016.


Along 325 miles of Interstate 81 in Virginia from West Virginia to Tennessee, a total of forty-one projects were identified for purposes of this report. Many of the projects can be broken into smaller projects of independent utility or are a subset of a larger mainline widening or interchange project.

VDOT maintains a list of Statewide Transportation Planning recommendations and that list will be updated with the projects in this report as appropriate.
(*1) Section 33.1-23.5:5 was enacted into law pursuant to HB2 of the 2014 General Assembly. As a result of legislation recodifying, among others, Title 33.1, §33.1-23.5:5 was recodified as §33.2-214.1, effective October 1, 2014.