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Interstate 81 south - Pulaski & Wythe Counties

Interstate 81 south
Southbound travelers enter Pulaski County midway across the New River. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Interstate 81 remains fairly rural and passes Pulaski to the south en route to Wytheville. Bristol is 101 miles to the southwest. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Virginia Secondary 660 (State Park Road) meets Interstate 81 at the first Pulaski County interchange (Exit 101). SSR 660 connects the freeway with Claytor Lake Park along the New River to the south. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Exit 101 departs Interstate 81 south for SSR 660 (State Park Road). SSR 660 ends at SSR 661 (Wilderness Road) nearby; Virginia Secondary 661 parallels Interstate 81 west from Mountain View to Burlington Mills. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Nine miles east of Pulaski on Interstate 81 south. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Next in line for Interstate 81 motorists is the merge with Virginia 100 south at the Exit 98 diamond interchange near Newburn. Virginia 100 joins the freeway with Dublin and New River Community College. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Virginia 100 travels north along Cleburne Boulevard to Burlington Mills, Dublin and New River Valley Airport. The state route culminates its northbound journey at Narrows west of Pearlsburg. Photo taken 12/30/08.

Interstate 81 & Virginia 100 south
Virginia 100 was relocated onto Interstate 81 from its two-lane alignment by 1965.1 Old Rouate 100 Road represents the former state route to the east through Newburn and McAdam. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Exit 94 joins Interstate 81 & Virginia 100 with the south end of Virginia 99 (Count Pulaski Drive). Virginia 99 travels just five miles northward to Randolph Avenue at Pulaski's northern boundary. Photo taken 12/30/08.
The Exit 94 partial-cloverleaf interchange provides access to Virginia 99 (Count Pulaski Drive) northbound only from Interstate 81 & Virginia 100 south. Count Pulaski Drive ends at Old Route 100 Road just east of the freeway. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Fort Chiswell (junction Interstate 77 and U.S. 52 south) represents the next control point of Interstate 81 southbound. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Lining the east side of Draper Mountain, Interstate 81 & Virginia 100 continue south to Exit 92, junction Virginia Secondary 658 (Greenbriar Road). Photo taken 12/30/08.
SSR 658 (Greenbriar Road) travels south from the Exit 92 diamond interchange and parallel Draper Valley Road to Draper and Claytor Lake. Connections with SSR 654 (Old Baltimore Road) lead drives south of Barrett Ridge to Virginia 100 south of Exit 89. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Interstate 81 & Virginia skim the north side of Barrett Ridge along with their frontage roads (Draper Valley Road / Kirby Road). Photo taken 12/30/08.
Where Virginia 100 departs Interstate 81, U.S. 11 enters it. The hand off occurs at the Exit 89 full-cloverleaf interchange south of Pulaski. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Exit 89B provides access to U.S. 11 (Lee Highway) north through Draper Valley to Pulaski. U.S. 11 meanders across Draper Mountain to Washington Avenue south of downtown Pulaski. Virginia 100 south meanwhile follows Wysor Road south to Barren Springs. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Drivers bound for U.S. 11 (Lee Highway) north to Pulaski depart Interstate 81 south at Exit 89B. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Exit 89A quickly follows and carries Virginia 100 south away from Interstate 81 to Sylvatus and the Carroll County seat of Hillsville. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Interstate 81 & U.S. 11 south
Continuing west through Draper Valley, Interstate 81 exits Pulaski County for Wythe County. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Honaker Road (former U.S. 11) becomes East Lee Highway and remains closely aligned with Interstate 81 south into Wythe County. Exit 86 provides access to East Lee Highway at junction Virginia Secondary 618. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Virginia Secondary 618 follows Topaz Drive east from the Exit 86 diamond interchange to Reed Creek Drive south. Topaz Drive constitutes a frontage road of Interstate 81 west to Exit 84. Old U.S. 11 (East Lee Highway) meanwhile diverges from the freeway on its westward trek. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Southbound reassurance shields posted for Interstate 81 & U.S. 11 between Exits 86 and 84. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Five miles east of Fort Chiswell along Interstate 81 & U.S. 11 south. U.S. 11 remains with the freeway to Wytheville (13 miles). Photo taken 12/30/08.
Virginia Secondary 619 (Major Grahams Road) stems south from East Lee Highway (old U.S. 11) to Grahams Forge south of Interstate 81 Exit 84. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Exit 84 constitutes a diamond interchange between Interstate 81 & U.S. 11 with SSR 619 (Major Grahams Road). SSR 619 winds southward over Chestnut Ridge to U.S. 52 at Galena. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Drawing to within three miles of Fort Chiswell on the Interstate 81 & U.S. 11 southbound approach to Exit 81 (junction Interstate 77 south). Photos taken 12/30/08.
Interstate 77 enters the Fort Chiswell area from Hillsville (18 miles to the south) and Fancy Gap to the southeast. The freeway provides a long distance connection between Charleston, West Virginia and Charlotte, North Carolina (135 miles to the south). Photo taken 12/30/08.
Interstate 77 north merges onto Interstate 81 & U.S. 11 south for nine miles through to Wytheville. Exit 81 joins the two freeways via a trumpet interchange. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Exit 81 prepares to depart for Interstate 77 south to Statesville, North Carolina (junction Interstate 40). Interstate 77 serves interests to Galax (via U.S. 58 & 221 west) and Mt. Airy (via Interstate 74 east). Photo taken 10/02/10.
Bluefield is the northbound destination for Interstate 77 beyond its split with Interstate 81 south at Wytheville. Interstate 77 travels 610.10 miles overall between Cleveland and Columbia, South Carolina. Photo taken 10/02/10.
A sweeping loop ramp shuttles drivers from Interstate 81 & U.S. 11 south onto Interstate 77 south. Interstate 77 next reaches Poplar Camp in eight miles. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Interstate 77 north & Interstate 81-U.S. 11 south
The first three Interstate 77 & 81 interchanges is that of Exit 80 with U.S. 52 south & Virginia 121 north. New overheads posted by 2010 included an error U.S. 121 shield for Virginia 121 north that also alludes to the past classification of the state route. The numbering of VA-121 relates to the original U.S. 121 corridor between Fort Chiswell and Lexington, North Carolina, a US route vastly absorbed by U.S. 52 in 1935.2 Photo taken 10/02/10.
U.S. 52 (Fort Chiswell Road) merges onto the freeway at Fort Chiswell for a ten mile overlap with Interstate 81. Virginia 121 continues northward on the U.S. 52 alignment to Max Meadows. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Interstate 77-U.S. 52 north & Interstate 81-U.S. 11 south
The four-way overlap of Interstate 77 north & 81 south and U.S. 11 & 52 involves two north and southbound components traveling in the same direction (U.S. 11 south & U.S. 52 north). Photo taken 10/02/10.
Westbound mileage sign posted eight miles out from Wytheville and the split of all routes. Bluefield lies 37 miles to the north across the West Virginia state line via Interstate 77 and U.S. 52. Bristol is 76 miles to the southwest via Interstate 81 and U.S. 11. Photo taken 10/02/10.
One mile east of Exit 77 with Ready Mix Road. The diamond interchange provides access to old U.S. 11 & 52 (Lee Highway) and Chapman Road. Photo taken 10/02/10.
A number of travelers services can be found on the adjacent frontage roads at Exit 77. Original U.S. 11 (Lee Highway) travels along the north side of the freeway; Chapman Road continues as the south side service road. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Reassurance shield assembly posted for Interstates 77-81 and U.S. 11-52 north after Exit 77. The freeway travels a wide valley between Lick Mountain and Brushy Ridge. Photo taken 10/02/10.
U.S. 11 southbound departs Interstate 77 & U.S. 52 north and Interstate 81 southbound at the Exit 73 trumpet interchange in one mile. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Interstate 77 leaves Interstate 81 & U.S. 52 immediately after the split with U.S. 11 south at Main Street in Wytheville. A diagrammatic overhead indicates two lanes of travel are available for each Interstate at Exit 72. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Nye Road appears along the north side of Interstates 77-81 on the half mile approach to Exit 73. U.S. 11 rejoins its former alignment along Main Street through downtown Wytheville. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Main Street comprises a commercial arterial through to the Wytheville street grid outside downtown. Within downtown, U.S. 11 shares a four block overlap with U.S. 21 before exiting via Lee Highway along Pine Ridge. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Interstate 77-U.S. 52 north & Interstate 81 south
One mile southeast of the Exit 72 split of Interstates 77 north and 81 south. Interstate 81 follows a northerly arc to bypass Wytheville as Interstate 77 winds northward across Cove Mountain to Walker Mountain Tunnel on the 27 mile trek to West Virginia. Photo taken 10/02/10.
New guide signs for Exit 72 include the capital city of Charleston for Interstate 77 north. Interstate 77 continues its 610-mile route north from Wytheville to Parkersburg, Canton, Akron and Cleveland. Interstate 81 continues along the Appalachian Mountains, with the Tri-Cities of Tennessee remaining along the 855-mile route. Photo taken 10/02/10.
The final shield assembly for the 8.80-mile overlap of Interstates 77 north & 81 south. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Interstate 77 & U.S. 52 northbound and Interstate 81 southbound expand to four lanes at the Exit 72 split. The western end of the overlap is handled by a trumpet interchange. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Older guide signs (since replaced) posted at the Interstate 77 northbound / 81 southbound partition. The I-77 control city of Bluefield sees a West Virginian component and a Virginia component. The community lies on the state border west of Interstate 77 along the U.S. 19 & 460 corridors, 26 miles to the north. Photos taken 10/05/01.
Interstate 81 south & U.S. 52 north
U.S. 52 continues another two miles on Interstate 81 to Exit 70. There the US highway departs for 4th Street and its original alignment. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Entering the Exit 70 diamond interchange with 4th Street on Interstate 81 south. U.S. 21 begins and follows 4th Street into downtown Wytheville, merging with U.S. 11 (Main Street) briefly. U.S. 52 continues 4th Street west to Crowgeys.
U.S. 21 traveled to Cleveland until 1980, but was truncated due to its close proximity to Interstate 77 from Wytheville northward. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Interstate 81 south
The Smyth County seat of Marion is next along Interstate 81 in 25 miles. 68 miles remain to Bristol. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Interstate 81 cuts a swath through Pine Ridge as the freeway drops to cross Reed Creek. Photo taken 10/02/10.
A partial "Y" interchange connects U.S. 11 (West Lee Highway) westbound with Interstate 81 southbound near Petunia. This reassurance shield follows. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Now three miles closer than the last sign posted for Marion and Bristol along Interstate 81 south. Pine Ridge remains along the north side of the freeway. Photo taken 10/02/10.
The final Wythe County interchange joins Interstate 81 with the end of Virginia 90 (Black Lick Road) at Exit 60. VA-90 is a 1.74 mile route that connects I-81 with Staley Crossroads (junction U.S. 11) and Rural Retreat. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Exit 60 leaves Interstate 81 south for Virginia 90 south and SSR 680 north. SSR 680 (Black Lick Road) continues beyond the diamond interchange to Blacklick and junction U.S. 52 near Favonia. Photo taken 10/02/10.
15 miles east of Marion, Interstate 81 continues through a hodgepodge of forest stands and farm land through to the county line. Photos taken 10/02/10.
Crossing the Smyth County line along Interstate 81 south. Smyth County, home to 32,208 as of the 2010 Census, was formed from portions of Washington and Wythe counties in February 23, 1832 and named after a War of 1812 General, Alexander Smyth. Photo taken 10/02/10.



Sources:

  1. Former VA 81 to VA 100 @ Virginia Highways Project.
  2. US 21 and branches @ Virginia Highways Project.
Photo Credits:
  • 2001-10-05 by AARoads.
  • 2008-12-30 by AARoads.
  • 2010-10-02 by AARoads and Carter Buchanan.

Connect with:
Interstate 77
U.S. Highway 11
U.S. Highway 52

Page Updated 02-14-2012.

 
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