Interstate 81 Crack Causing Major Problems - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Interstate 81 Crack Causing Major Problems

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Problems continue to grow for drivers on Interstate 81.

With a portion of the southbound stretch in from Christiansburg to Dixie Caverns closed, traffic is detoured onto Route 460.

Not only has the detour caused major backups and delays, but there were three separate tractor-trailer accidents on the highway Wednesday.

One semi crashed on northbound 81, near Mile Marker 167, which shut down the right lane and caused a five-mile back up.

But while drivers deal with the congestion, crews were back blasting on Christiansburg Mountain.

According to VDOT, there's no timeframe of when the crack will be fixed, and the stretch of 81 isn't expected to be opened in time for the Labor Day weekend.

VDOT discovered a crack back in May. It was 50 feet long and increased to 120 feet long.

It'll take more blasting to fill in the crack on the slope. The area is dangerous now because rocks and debris could fall on the lanes.

However, even with a solid plan, there are some problems construction crews are faced with.

"Workers can't get too close to the crack because of the danger of it so they have to slowly get closer to the material to bring it down," says Jamie Smith, VDOT spokesman.

On Thursday, crews will remove material from Wednesday's blasting. Then on Friday they'll be blasting again and have rolling road blocks for traffic on northbound Interstate 81.