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VDOT to blast Wednesday on I-81 in Montgomery County

By Web Staff, news@wdbj7.com
Published On: Jul 29 2013 02:02:05 PM EDT
Updated On: Aug 02 2013 06:07:49 PM EDT

It happened around 9:30 this morning, but the clean-up has been going on for most of the day.

SALEM, Va. -

The Virginia Department of Transportation says it will blast starting at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday (Aug. 7) on Interstate 81 in Montgomery County.

The blasting is needed because of an unstable slope near mile marker 124.

Slow lane closures will be put in place on I-81 North and South starting at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. State police will slow traffic in both directions to keep the blast site clear of traffic.

On I-81 South, traffic will be slowed beginning at mile marker 128 (Ironto Exit). I-81 North traffic will be slowed starting at mile marker 114 (Route 8 Christiansburg Exit). During blasting, on-ramps will be restricted onto I-81 at Exit 118 (Christiansburg/Route 460 Exit) and onto I-81 South at Exit 128 (Ironto).

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Original story from July 31

VDOT has pushed up the start time for blasting Wednesday in Montgomery County.

Blasting began at 9:30 a.m., instead of 10:30 a.m.

VDOT made the change because of weather.

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The Virginia Department of Transportation will begin periodic blasting on Interstate 81 in Montgomery County starting Wednesday because of an unstable slope. The blasting will cause slow roll lane closures, according to VDOT.

The work is part of a truck climbing project being built between mile markers 120 and 125 on I-81. VDOT had previously announced that it was done blasting. However, a crack was discovered May 29 in the slope of I-81 South, near mile marker 124.

Slow lane closures will be put in place on I-81 North and South starting at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. State police will slow traffic in both directions to keep the blast site clear of traffic.

On I-81 South, traffic will be slowed beginning at mile marker 128 (Ironto Exit). I-81 North traffic will be slowed starting at mile marker 114 (Route 8 Christiansburg Exit). During blasting, on-ramps will be restricted onto I-81 at Exit 118 (Christiansburg/Route 460 Exit) and onto I-81 South at Exit 128 (Ironto).
Future blasting dates will be scheduled on weekdays as needed, starting at 10:30 a.m.

VDOT says between 25,000 and 30,000 cubic yards of debris will have to be removed. Each blast will remove between 3,000 and 4,000 cubic yards of debris. It will take several days between blasts for the material to be removed.

The entire project is expected to be finished in November.

Here is the news release from VDOT:

SALEM – In order to reconstruct an unstable slope on southbound Interstate 81 near mile marker 124 in Montgomery County, periodic blasting is scheduled to begin this week. This area is located within the truck climbing lane project work zone. Weather permitting, the first blast is scheduled for Wednesday, July 31. The contractors anticipate multiple blasts taking place over the course of several weeks.
As a safety precaution, slow roll lane closures during blasting will be in place on north and southbound I-81 beginning at approximately 10:30 a.m. State Police will slow traffic in both directions to keep the area near the blast clear of traffic. Once the blast has occurred, traffic will be released to travel at a normal speed. Drivers should expect delays.
Signs and message boards will be in place to alert drivers of the following traffic impacts during blasting:
• Traffic will be slowed on southbound I-81 beginning at mile marker 128 and northbound I-81, starting at mile marker 114 at approximately 10:30 a.m. During blasting, the on-ramps will be restricted onto northbound Interstate 81 at exit 118 (Christiansburg) and onto southbound I-81 at exit 128 (Ironto).
• Flaggers will control traffic on Route 636 (Seneca Hollow Road and Friendship Road) during blasting.
Future blasting dates will be scheduled on weekdays at approximately 10:30 a.m. as needed. Blasting dates will be announced as they are scheduled but are subject to change due to weather and work schedule.