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Friday, May 3, 2013
A study into the possibility of widening Interstate 81 in the Roanoke and New River valleys has been expanded to include additional interstate mileage in Botetourt County, state highway officials said Friday.
Previously, a consultant hired by the Virginia Department of Transportation was going to analyze from Exit 118 (Christiansburg) to Exit 143 (the I-581 interchange in Roanoke County).
But after getting started, the consultant advised VDOT that the 7 miles from Exit 143 to Exit 150 (Troutville) are much like the original study area in terms of traffic volumes and commuting patterns, VDOT said in a news release.
The consultant said it made the most sense to study the entire 32-mile stretch for widening options, and VDOT agreed, the release said.
The study, expected to cost $500,000, is a prerequisite that looks at the environmental effects of adding up to two northbound and two southbound lanes to I-81 in the Roanoke region. A draft is due out this fall. There is no money programmed into budgets to design or build any highway improvements yet.
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