Virginia Department of Transportation— I-81 Corridor Operations Expansion Program – 2019 Activities

What began as a directive from the state’s General Assembly, the I-81 Corridor Operations Expansion Program – 2019 Activities project resulted from a study to review Virginia’s I-81 Corridor. This $1.72 million effort found that only 21 percent of the congestion along the corridor was due to its capacity, but over 50 percent was due to traffic incidents. In order to continue to safely manage operations, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) used performance metrics to find strategies to better identify, prevent, and clear traffic incidents. With the community involved in the process, VDOT identified traffic cameras, changeable message signs, curve warning systems, towing programs, and more as strategies and began implementation in 2019. In the first five months of the program, VDOT saw a seven-minute reduction in incident clearing times, a four-minute reduction in emergency and incident response time, and reduction in the amount of delays, ultimately saving drivers 100,000 hours of sitting in traffic. These strategies not only help to keep everyone moving, they also help to prevent secondary incidents, saving time, saving money, and saving lives.