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We wanted to inform you of a VDOT project that is taking place in West Virginia on I-77 that may impact traffic on Rt. 460 through Montgomery County. Due to potential backups, a suggested detour will be I-81 North to Christiansburg and then Rt. 460 West through Montgomery County and Giles County into West Virginia. Below please find the news release that was distributed by VDOT as well as VDOT's contact information should you have any questions about this project.
An extensive paving project begins Thursday, May 17 in West Virginia on I-77 north and southbound near the Virginia border. A northbound lane closure will be in place during the project, as well as the rerouting of trucks off I-77 at exit 1, through the Town of Bluefield, and back on I-77 at exit 9 in Princeton.
Paving in West Virginia may cause traffic backups into East River Mountain Tunnel.
"Safety concerns prohibit VDOT from letting stopped traffic build up inside the tunnel," said VDOT Bristol Traffic Engineer Brian Holt, P.E. "When traffic builds up, our tunnel staff will stop traffic outside of the tunnel entrance until the back-ups clear."
With the anticipation of frequent traffic stops comes the inevitable possibility of major traffic delays northbound. Weekend traffic, especially during the summer months, has the potential to back up significantly.
"If motorists can alter their trips so that you are traveling Monday through Thursday mornings or early afternoons, delays could be lessened," Holt said.Motorists can also download VDOT’s 511 app (iPhone or Android) to monitor road conditions. The system uses traffic speeds (green – moving without issues, yellow – slowed, red – moving very slow, and black – stopped) to give motorists information about potential delays. Additionally, there are multiple cameras along the I-77 corridor to allow motorists to view traffic in real time.
There is also an opportunity to detour to avoid potential delays, especially for truck traffic.
VDOT suggests trucks avoid I-77 and access Route 460 directly:
"A route we ask trucks to absolutely avoid is Route 52, this route is extremely curvy and cannot accommodate tractor-trailers," Holt said. "Cars can detour using this route, but the route cannot accommodate trucks."
Beginning the weekend of May 18 and every weekend for the life of the project (Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.), VDOT will have Safety Service Patrol assisting motorists from mile marker 50 near Big Walker Mountain Tunnel to mile marker 66 at East River Mountain Tunnel. (Additional information regarding VDOT's Safety Service Patrol and the services they provide: http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/safetypatrol.asp)
VDOT's 24-hour Customer Service Center is available at 1-800-FOR-ROAD (1-800-367-7623) to address motorists’ questions. Follow @VaDOTBristol for traffic updates.
For information regarding WVDOT's paving project, visit www.wv511.org or download the WV511 Drive Safe app.