Transportation Solutions


Interstate 81
Interstate 81 bisects the entire 35 miles of Shenandoah County -- running Northeast to Southwest.  Currently, I-81 is two lanes and there are seven interchanges with commercial services.  The highway is adjacent to numerous historically significant sites and actively producing farms.

The Issue
Shenandoah Forum continues to provide a strong voice in support of low impact alternatives to Virginia Department of Transportation's (VDOT) proposed over-sizing of I-81. Along with a network of groups working within the Valley, Shenandoah Forum has urged VDOT to abandon its massive $11.4 billion plan in favor of "Reasonable Solutions" -- a more affordable alternative using lower impact improvements within the existing roadway to address issues of safety and congestion.
Reasonable Solutions for I-81
A six point plan addressing the real needs for I-81 while respecting communities in the corridor, Shenandoah Forum along with dozens of local governments and community groups have endorsed the "Reasonable Solutions for the Future of I-81."
The Background
In 2005, overwhelming community concern and opposition to an I-81 truckway gave the Forum's board a strong sense that it was time for the organization to start participating in I-81 issues. Using its consensus-based approach, the Forum held a "balanced" public forum that drew more than 300 residents. Presentations included representatives VDOT, the Southern Environmental Law Center, Rail Solution, and the Shenandoah Valley Networkwith lots of time for questions from the audience. Several Forum board members became active partners in the Shenandoah Valley Network’s I-81 campaign, briefing elected officials and encouraging state lawmakers to call our congressional delegation to block federal funding for the massive truckway.
Tolling Priority Switched
In Sept 2011, Gov McDonnell removes tolling option from I-81, granting tolling authority instead for I-95. Shenandoah Forum is cautiously optimistic about this news but still pushing for new, reasonable planning for the interstate.
Regional Campaign for I-81
Shenandoah Valley Network and its partners, including the Shenandoah Forum, have coordinated a multi-faceted campaign to block a costly and destructive plan to widen I-81 to eight or more lanes, paid for by tolls on local drivers. We advocate a mix of transportation options to address safety and congestion issues more quickly, efficiently and affordably.
For more information on the regional I-81 campaign
VDOT's I-81 website