The Virginia Department of Transportation is in the midst of several
public meetings on a proposed widening of Interstate 81 – a project that could
The meetings began Tuesday, April 11, and are part of the
information-gathering phase of the I-81 Corridor Improvement Study.
Truckers, trucking associations and the general public have shown
interest in these meetings because of the possibility of tolls as a way to pay
for the up-to $13 billion widening effort.
OOIDA has issued a call-to-action to its Virginia members to attend the
public meetings and file written comments by mail and e-mail.
ATA, which is based in Alexandria, VA, and the Virginia Trucking
Association are organizing opposition to the options that pertain to tolls.
The I-81 proposal includes widening the interstate to six lanes over
325 miles, from Winchester to Bristol.
Truck tolls may be proposed to pay half of that cost, according to
The public meetings are 5 to 8 p.m. at the following locations, and
include presentations, videos and testimony by the public:
- Wednesday, April 12,
Bristol Holiday Inn and Conference Center, 3005 Linden Drive, Bristol.
- Monday, April 17,
Natural Bridge Hotel and Conference Center, 15 Appledore Lane, Natural Bridge.
- Tuesday, April 18,
Winchester Travel Lodge, 160 Front Royal Pike, Winchester.
- Wednesday, April 19,
Turner Ashby High School, 800 N. Main St., Bridgewater.
The public can view the exhibit items from 1 to 4 p.m. at each location
before each meeting, with the exception of April 19. The exhibit can be viewed
on that day from 1 to 4 p.m. at a VDOT regional office, 3536 N. Valley Pike, Harrisonburg.
If you cannot make the meetings but would still like to comment, you
may do so by e-mailing comments to 81info@VirginiaDOT.org, or
filling out the online comment form at www.I-81.org.
Mailed comments can be directed to Christopher Collins, Project
Manager, VDOT Environmental Division, 1401 E. Broad St., Richmond, VA, 23219.
The public comment period will end April 29, when the study will enter
a series of review and analysis phases before approval and eventual construction.
– By David Tanner, staff writer