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Interstate 81 back up and running, residents relieved

By Nadia Singh, nsingh@wdbj7.com
Published On: Aug 29 2013 11:15:08 PM EDT
Updated On: Aug 30 2013 12:00:41 AM EDT

WDBJ7's Nadia Singh spent time with people affected by all the problems today.

SALEM, Va. -

Interstate 81 no longer looks like a parking lot. The highway is flowing again after two days worth of major back-ups and frustration. Work to fix a problem along the interstate shut down the southbound lanes in Roanoke and Montgomery County.

It created headaches for both businesses and residents especially after an accident on 460 near the Dixie Caverns area added to the backups

The major congestion along interstate 81 through Roanoke and Montgomery counties meant hours behind the wheel for thousands of drivers. For some it was a boost for business.

"We've gone through a lot of gas over that last two days, we have a delivery tonight, hopefully late tonight or early tomorrow morning. We've done a lot sales," convenience store cashier, Wendy Luxton told Your Hometown News Leader.

For others, it caused major inconveniences.

Donna Buckner, a Montgomery County resident said, "It's been horrible. I've had a lot of trouble getting out, I'm disabled. I've had a hard time getting to the store, and to the doctor. I had to postpone my doctors appointments until all this was over." "I'm so happy and I hope it never happens again."

But it wasn't only the residents who had to deal with backups for miles. Emergency crews had to get creative to make sure all emergency calls were handled efficiently.

Neal Turner, Montgomery County's Emergency Services Coordinator said "Certainly we were affected. The fire and rescue, the leaders, got together and said hey, look I need help from you to cover this part and I"ll cover this part for you."

It's that kind of coordination that allowed for timely responses, making sure no call went unanswered during the detours and back ups.

Luckily, the work only took two days. Two days too many, for those who live and work in the area.