i-81 shut down backs up drivers - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

I-81 shut down backs up drivers

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VDOT has closed lanes of southbound Interstate 81 in Montgomery County from the Dixie Caverns exit to the Christiansburg exit.

The closure comes after problems in a blasting zone with an unstable slope.

At this point, waiting for lanes to reopen is just a waiting game.

Drivers say they are helpless.

"I'm not happy about it, but I can't change it," one driver said.

The closure caught drivers off guard, but especially those traveling long distances. A couple from Pennsylvania told WSLS it's tough being caught in traffic with a baby on board.

"Right now it's a big pain. So yeah, we are tied up pretty good."

Traffic is going to remain backed up. VDOT says the closure could last up to ten days. Road crews have been working for months to build a truck climbing lane and repair a large crack which blasting has only made worse.

VDOT says the blasting caused the crack to stretch from about fifty to one hundred twenty feet in length so they've shut down the interstate to protect drivers from a landslide.

While it's a safety precaution drivers say the closure couldn't come at a worse time, especially for nearby businesses during the summer travel months.

"It just has a big affect on people," one driver said. "This isn't the time you really want to have those affects."

For now, all drivers can do is follow the detour onto 460 West, watch out for road cones and obey those flashing blue lights from police.

Allow at least a half hour extra drive time on your way to work. For constant traffic updates call 511 for the latest delay.