Skip to comments.Virginia lawmakers ask Congress to take action on Interstate 81
Posted on 02/15/2018 7:50:51 PM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- A group of 16 Virginia lawmakers has penned a letter to Virginia's Congressional Delegation (comprised of Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner and Representatives Bob Goodlatte, Barbara Comstock, and Morgan Griffith) asking for federal assistance to improve Interstate 81.
The interstate has long been a source of frustration for people in the Shenandoah Valley, with the Virginia Department of Transportation reporting at least a 12-percent increase in traffic in just the past five years and a 55-percent increase of delays from crashes, construction, or bad weather.
In 2014, Delegate Steve Landes introduced a state budget item directing VDOT to develop a list of improvements needed along the I-81 corridor. That study identified 41 projects that need to be undertaken on the interstate, but a lack of funding has prevented many of them from being completed.
Now, Landes is leading the charge to ask for federal assistance to fund safety improvements and congestion relief on Interstate 81.
"Interstate 81 is in dire need of safety improvements and congestion relief. We are seeking federal assistance to help alieve these problems," he said. "Today, a bipartisan group of Virginia's Delegates and Senators have written to members of Virginia's Congressional Delegation that represent the areas along the I-81 corridor to work with President Donald Trump's administration to secure funding for Interstate 81."
The letter sent on Jan. 25 to Virginia's members of Congress was also signed by state Senators Bill Carrico, Creigh Deeds and Mark Obenshain, along with Delegates Dickie Bell, Jeffrey Campbell, Ben Cline, Chris Collins, Todd Gilbert, Chris Head, Chris Hurst, Terry Kilgore, Steve Landes, Dave LaRock, Israel O'Quinn, Todd Pillion, Nick Rush and Tony Wilt.
It asks for a response and a commitment to address the issue in 2018.
Reports by VDOT have also determined that 42 percent of Virginia's truck traffic volume is on I-81 and, in parts of the interstate through the Shenandoah Valley, 20 to 30 percent of the total traffic volume consists of trucks.
In an effort to address some of the problems that can cause on the interstate, Obenshain introduced Senate Bill 561, which would direct VDOT to test a system of restricting tractor trailers to the right lane in parts of the interstate meeting certain criteria.
Obenshain also introduced Senate Bill 971, which would would make the Commonwealth Transportation Board study the possibility of using truck tolls to fund improvements to I-81.
Landes introduced a budget amendment to tackle issues on I-81 in another way, providing $670,000 a year from Virginia's general fund to increase traffic enforcement on I-81 specifically in Augusta, Rockingham, and Shenandoah counties.
I-81 has an obscene amount of traffic for a mostly rural route. It so totally needs a third lane. But damn, Richmond... build it yourselves.
I wonder how much traffic could be replaced by extending train service down the length of I-81 to Bristol. Even 10% would be huge.
Less than you are thinking, much of the truck traffic is trucks avoiding the highly congested 95 corridor and my understanding is that the class 1 railroads are not very interested in intermodal traffic that travels less than ~500 to 750mi or about one day's haul as they cannot move it any faster.
It will only make the roads worse on i81.
Have you seen how long it has taken Virginia to expand i95 outside the beltway? They have been working on it since the 1970s, and there is still no end in site. Jammed with traffic every time Ive driven by and it does not matter the time of day.
You get them on i81it will take them 100 years to complete it, and the traffic will be far worse.
When it comes to highway construction Virginia gets a solid F- Virginia is probably the worst State in the Union when it comes to Highway projects.
Yep - when a State asks for more federal funds for such, they ought to have to provide a to-the dollar accounting of what they did with all the money that should have been used for it in the first place.
There already is freight train service... and the truck freight proves you right. But I had meant reducing passenger cars.
>> When it comes to highway construction Virginia gets a solid F- <<
ROTFL. Oh, it’s bad. And it deserves your scorn. But NO-ONE is Pennsylvania bad. There are parts of Penna where the highway signs read, “MEN SHOULD BE WORKING.”
Forbes published an article with a graphical analysis of freight volume.
I 81 carries the highest volume of freight of any interstate in the country.
Now I know you are not serious. There are no major metro areas on 81 besides possibly Harrisburg PA which generate a major rush hour on 81. Thus would your proposed passenger route get any significant number of people from where they are to where they want to go at a time useful to them?
You are correct; the traffic is NOT daily commuter traffic. But it IS heavy. There is an existing, new Amtrak train extension from Lynchburg to DC which greatly exceeded ridership projections. But it leaves prepostrously early in the morning from Lynchburg.
Roanoke is TWICE the size of Harrisburg. Blacksburg is also the size of Harrisburg, and would provide transportation between Virginia Tech and Liberty on one side, and the DC metro area from which so many of their students come from, on the other. Bristol would connect the DC area to the Eastern Tennessee area, where Eastern Tennessee is where almost 2 million people live.
Didn’t that train recently get extended to Roanoke?
Yes... and it’s been extremely successful, immediately covering operating costs and clobbering ridership projections, which is why I’d want to see it extended to Blacksburg and then to Bristol. And offered more frequently. I don’t know if Fraxinus is a troll, or just plain ignorant; it’s hard to tell the way people around here write as if you’re absurd to disagree with them when they don’t have a freaking clue what they’re talking about.
I was going to say the big problem with the Roanoke train is its absurd hours, but checking them, they’re later than I thought.