Virginia evaluates I-81 expansion plans

| 1/27/2003

Virginia highway officials are evaluating two private proposals to widen I-81.

Two groups of construction companies submitted plans last week to widen the 325-mile corridor, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. The Virginia Department of Transportation is reviewing the details of the plans and will decide by Feb. 14 whether either proposal is worth further consideration.

A plan submitted by a group dubbed Star Solutions would add two lanes in each direction to be reserved for toll-paying trucks, according to the newspaper. The group estimates its plan will cost at least $6.25 billion.

A plan submitted by Fluor Virginia Inc. calls for adding one car-only lane in each direction. Their plan, totaling about $1.8 billion, would be paid by car and truck tolls.

In September, VDOT asked private companies to submit I-81 widening plans after determining the agency couldn’t finish the work itself for 30 years. Star Solutions estimates it can complete the job by 2015; Fluor says it can finish by 2011.