Virginia lawmakers continue to explore options for improving Interstate 81

It’s a common, but unpredictable problem along Interstate 81. Traffic crashes often block the highway and leave traffic backed up for miles.

Data collected by the Virginia Department of Transportation shows about 2,000 crashes happen along Interstate 81 every year. Around 45 of those incidents take at least four hours to clear.”Interstate 81 is a real challenge for anybody who lives along the corridor or does business along the western part of Virginia,” said State Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg).

That’s a significant loss of time for trucking businesses like Lawrence Companies, based in Roanoke County.

“We have about 250 trucks and Interstate 81 is our lifeblood,” said Peer Segelke, CEO of Lawrence Companies.

More than one-third of all trucks traveling in or through Virginia use Interstate 81. That’s around 11 million trucks carrying $312 billion worth of goods.