Last week, the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) approved the I-81 Corridor Improvement Plan. Highlights of the Plan are listed below. Click here for VDOT’s Executive Summary – I-81 Corridor Improvement Plan.            

The Roanoke Regional Chamber supports dedicated funding to support improvements to I-81 and will continue to advocate for solutions to our transportation infrastructure needs.

Operations Plan

  • $43 million in immediate operations and incident management improvements
  • Changeable message signs and cameras, expanded safety service patrols, contract emergency clearance, detour routes and improvements to parallel facilities, truck parking enhancements.

Capital Improvements

  • Problem areas identified by performance measures: crash frequency, crash severity, person-hours of delay, and incident/crash lane closure >1 hour. Determined contributing factors and developed potential solutions.
  • Developed package of potential improvements and prioritized recommendations based on person hours of delay, change in crash frequency, and change in access to jobs.
  • Salem district: 13 capital improvements recommended for funding ($875.3 million)
  • Projects include widening, acceleration and deceleration lane extensions, and curve improvements
  • Corridor-wide: 63 capital improvements recommended for funding (~$2 billion).
  • Projected reductions of 6 million vehicle hours of delay and 450 annual statistical crashes resulting from improvements

Financing Options

  • SB971 required VDOT to analyze truck-only tolling, prohibited consideration of commuter tolling, and allowed for evaluation of other financing options.
  • Regional Tax Option:
  • Increase fuels tax by 2.1% in Planning Districts 3-7. Projected to generate $60 million
  • Increase retail sales and use tax by 0.7% in Planning Districts 3-7. Projected to generate $105 million
  • Tolling Option:
  • Time-of-Day Tolling: varying rates for trucks (15 ¢/mile daytime and 7.5 ¢/mile nighttime) and autos (7.5 ¢/mile daytime and 5 ¢/mile nighttime)
  • Daytime: 6:00 am – 9:00 pm; Nighttime: 9:00 pm – 6:00 am
  • I-81 Auto Annual Pass: Autos can purchase a $30 Annual Pass for unlimited use of the corridor.
  • Six toll gantries corridor-wide with closest assumed locations approximately 40 miles apart. Considering locations at intersections with other interstates, near state borders, and between urbanized areas. Commuters travel first two gantries free.
  • Time-of-day tolling and I-81 commuter pass projected to generate $135-$155 million annually
  • Economic Impact: Analyzed reduced transportation costs due to implementation of the Plan and tolling costs for Virginia trucks
    • Specifically assessed impact to Virginia agriculture, logistics and manufacturing companies

Contact Rebekah Gunn (rgunn@roanokechamber.org) with questions or for additional information.