We are in the midst of an important opportunity to improve I-81. As directed by SB971, a VDOT study is underway to develop an improvement plan for I-81 and evaluate financing options for the corridor. Public participation in this process, particularly from the business community, is critical as the economic impact of potential improvements and funding mechanisms are considered. While the primary focus has been on truck-only tolling, VDOT has the authority to study a variety of financing options, with the exception of commuter tolls.

The attached slides provide metrics for I-81 on incident vs. recurring delay, person hours of delay between interchanges, and duration of incident-related lane closures between interchanges. The presentation also summarizes congestion, safety, and policy issues identified through public comment since the June meeting.

The next public meeting in the Salem district has been set for August 28 at the Salem Civic Center. This meeting will focus on potential improvements to address identified problems, provide information on potential revenue generation mechanisms, and seek public feedback on potential recommendations and financing options. Following the August meeting, VDOT will evaluate the economic impact of revenue generation mechanisms and develop a recommended package of improvements and funding options, so your participation on August 28 is important.

Thank you for your engagement in this important opportunity to improve I-81. Do not hesitate to contact rgunn@roanokechamber.org if you would like additional information or assistance in preparing public comment.