Interstate 81 North - Wythe & Pulaski Counties

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Interstate 81 North
A truck-only rest area was previously located along I-81 northbound beyond Exit 13. A car-only facility lies east of Exit 60 near Staley Crossroads. This area closed in 2009 due to budget cuts, but reopened by February 19, 2010.1 Photo taken 07/16/05.
Virginia 90 begins at a diamond interchange (Exit 60) with Interstate 81 and leads south to U.S. 11 (Lee Highway) and Rural Retreat. Exit 60 serves interests to Rural Retreat Lake Park. Photo taken 07/16/05.
Interstate 81 north at the ramp departure (Exit 60) for Virginia 90 (Black Lick Road) south to Staley Crossroads and U.S. 11 and its end at SSR 616 and SSR 749 (South Main Street) in Rural Retreat. Photo taken 07/16/05.
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The right lane gained from Exit 60 forms an exit-only lane to the cars only rest area nearby. Photos taken 07/16/05.
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Interstate 81 continues another ten miles east to Wytheville. Pine Ridge rises along the north side of the freeway to Exit 67. Photos taken 07/16/05.
U.S. 11 (Lee Highway) kisses Interstate 81 again near Cline at Exit 67. This is the first of three interchanges to server Wytheville. Photo taken 07/16/05.
A wye interchange provides access to the four-lane divided section of U.S. 11 (Lee Highway) leading east to Petunia and Wytheville. Photo taken 07/16/05.
Interstate 81 ascends over Pine Ridge at its crossing of Reed Creek. Photo taken 07/16/05.
Spanning SSR 656 (Ridge Road) north of Petunia and Pine Ridge along Interstate 81 north. Photo taken 07/16/05.
Exit 70 represents the northern terminus of U.S. 21 and the northbound departure of U.S. 52 from its overlap with Interstate 81 around Wytheville. U.S. 21 once traveled to Cleveland, but was truncated due to its close proximity to Interstate 77 from here northward by 1980. Photo taken 07/16/05.
U.S. 21 follows 4th Street into Downtown Wytheville, where it combines with U.S. 11 (Main Street) briefly. U.S. 52 continues 4th Street west to Crowgeys. Points of interest for Exit 70 include Wytheville Community College and a Regional Visitors Center. Photo taken 07/16/05.
Departed from Interstate 81 north at Exit 70, drivers reach 4th Street and U.S. 21's southbound beginning. U.S. 21 travels south to Independence and Hunting Island, South Carolina. U.S. 52 meanwhile winds northward to Favonia across Walker Mountain toInterstate 77 at Bland. Photo taken 07/16/05.
Interstate 81 North U.S. 52 South
U.S. 52 bypasses Wytheville with Interstate 81 north for ten miles to Fort Chiswell. The highway originally overlapped with U.S. 11 through the city. Photo taken 07/16/05.
Interstate 81 north & U.S. 52 south head east to their merge with Interstate 77 northeast of Wytheville. This set of overheads direct motorists bound for Charlotte to stay on Interstate 81 to Exit 81 as Interstate 77 merges with I-81 to Fort Chiswell. Interstate 77 north otherwise continues to Bluefield, West Virginia. Photo taken 07/16/05.
Exit 72 departs in one mile for Interstate 77 north to Bland, Bluefield, Beckley, and Charleston, West Virginia. Photo taken 07/16/05.
One half mile west of the Exit 72 trumpet interchange with Interstate 77 north on Interstate 81 & U.S. 52 south. Photo taken 07/16/05.
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Interstate 77 opened to traffic between Wytheville and Bland by 1972. Travelers headed north to Bluefield must travel through two tunnels, one at Big Walker Mountain and another at East River Mountain Tunnel at the state line. Photo taken 07/16/05. Second photo taken 09/29/10.
Interstate 77 U.S. 52 South Interstate 81 North
Shortly after combining, Interstate 81 & U.S. 52 north and Interstate 77 south enter a trumpet interchange with U.S. 11 (Main Street) in Wytheville. U.S. 11 leads west to Wytheville Community College and downtown from Exit 73. Photo taken 10/02/10.
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Exit 73 departs Interstates 77-81 & U.S. 52 east beyond the Lithia Road overpass onto U.S. 11 (East Main Street) south. U.S. 11 north joins the trio east; its original alignment parallels the freeway as a frontage roads (Nye Road). Photo taken 06/17/05. Second photo taken 10/02/10.
Interstate 77 U.S. 52 South Interstate 81 U.S. 11 North
I-81/U.S. 52 north and I- 77/U.S. 11 south form a wrong-way overlap. The eight mile stretch between Wytheville and Fort Chiswell primarily follows an east-west course. The first shield assembly for all four appears at a Norfolk Southern Railroad under pass east of Exit 73. Photo taken 06/17/05.
Interstate 81 & U.S. 11 north travel together to Exit 89 south of Pulaski. Interstate 77 ventures south to Statesville and Charlotte, North Carolina. U.S. 52 mirrors the corridor to near Mount Airy, North Carolina. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Crossing Reed Creek along Interstate 77-U.S. 52 south & Interstate 81-U.S. 11 north. 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 06/17/05.
Exit 77 provides access to old U.S. 11 & 52 (Lee Highway) and Chapman Road via a diamond interchange. Photo taken 10/02/10.
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A number of travelers services can be found on the adjacent frontage roads at Exit 77. Lee Highway and Chapman Road continue along side Interstates 77-81 and U.S. 11-52 to Fort Chiswell Road (Exit 80). Photo taken 06/17/05. Second photo taken 10/02/10.
Six lanes of freeway continue between Exits 77 and 80. The second and final set of reassurance shields for Interstates 77-81 & U.S. 11-52 follow the on-ramp from Ready Mix Road (the connector between the service roads). Photo taken 06/17/05.
Interstate 77 south will split from Interstate 81 & U.S. 11 north in three miles at Exit 80. The corridor is scenic on its southward path toward North Carolina. Photo taken 10/02/10.
U.S. 52 leaves the overlap first, following Fort Chiswell Road southward from the Exit 80 diamond interchange with Virginia 121 north to Poplar Camp. Virginia 121 begins and travels 1.83 miles north to Max Meadows. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Exit 80 leaves I-77/81 & U.S. 11 for U.S. 52 (Fort Chiswell Road) south and SR 121 (Max Meadows Road) north into Fort Chiswell. The numbering of SR 121 alludes to the original route of U.S. 121 between Fort Chiswell and Lexington, North Carolina. The U.S. route was vastly absorbed by U.S. 52 in 1935.2 Photo taken 10/02/10.
Ascending along U.S. 52 east at Exit 80 to its turn onto Fort Chiswell Road south. U.S. 52 parallels Interstate 77 closely through Poplar Camp, Hillsville, Fancy Gap, and Cana before entering N.C. Photo taken 07/16/05.
Interstate 77 South Interstate 81 U.S. 11 North
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The departure of Interstate 77 south toward Hillsville, Galax, Fancy Gap and the Blue Ridge Parkway follows at the Exit 81 trumpet interchange.
New sign bridges and overheads were installed by 2010 leading toward the Interstates 77-81 split. Photo taken 06/17/05. Second photo taken 10/02/10.
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Interstate 77 travels 32 miles south to North Carolina, becoming a part of Interstate 74 east at the border. Interstate 74 east & U.S. 52 south lead to Winston-Salem as Interstate 77 continues south to Statesville and Interstate 40. Photo taken 06/17/05. Second photo taken 10/02/10.
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Unconventional signs that reminded motorists that the right lane defaults onto Interstate 77 south to Charlotte were replaced with a diagrammatic overhead by 2010. Interstate 77 travels 610.10 miles overall between Cleveland and Columbia, South Carolina. Photo taken 06/17/05. Second photo taken 10/02/10.
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Interstate 81 & U.S. 11 continue northeast to Pulaski, Radford, Christiansburg and Roanoke; Interstate 77 turns southeasterly 18 miles to Hillsville and 135 miles to Charlotte. Photo taken 06/17/05. Second photo taken 10/02/10.
Interstate 81 U.S. 11 North
Interstate 81 Virginia Route 100 North
Interstate 81/SR 100 travel nine miles northeast together. Radford and Christiansburg follow at 22 and 27 miles out from the SR 100 northbound merge. The state route was relocated onto the freeway in 1965.3 Photo taken 07/16/05.
Frontage roads (Draper Valley Road west / Kirby Road east) follow Interstate 81 & Virginia 100 northto the Exit 92 diamond interchange with SSR 658 (Greenbriar Road). Photo taken 07/16/05.
SSR 658 lead south from Interstate 81 & Virginia 100 and the associated frontage roads (old Virginia 100) to Draper and Claytor Lake. Photo taken 07/16/05.
Exits 94A/B constitute a six-ramp parclo interchange with Virginia 99 (Count Pulaski Drive) north and Old Route 100 Road. Photo taken 07/16/05.
Virginia 99 travels just five miles between Interstate 81 & Virginia 100 and Randolph Avenue at Pulaski's northern boundary. Photo taken 07/16/05.
Exit 94A departs first onto adjacent Old Route 100 Road to McAdam and SSR 672 (Lowmans Ferry Road) to Shiloh. Photo taken 07/16/05.
Count Pulaski Highway angles northwest to East Main Street in Pulaski. Virginia 99 briefly merges with U.S. 11 (Washington Avenue) in downtown. Photo taken 07/16/05.
Radford is the next city of interest along Interstate 81 & Virginia 100 north at 17 miles out. Photo taken 07/16/05.
Virginia 100 parts ways with Interstate 81 at the Exit 98 diamond interchange near Newbern. The state route ventures north through Burlington Mills to an interchange with U.S. 11 at Dublin. Photo taken 07/16/05.
Virginia 100 follows Cleburne Boulevard north through Dublin to New River Valley Airport. Points of interest served by Exit 98 include New River Community College and the Wilderness Road Regional Museum. Virginia 100 follows a mostly four-lane corridor between Dublin and Pearisburg (U.S. 460 Business). Photo taken 07/16/05.
Interstate 81 North
SSR 660 (State Park Road) leads southeast from SSR 611 (Wilderness Road) to Claytor Lake. State Park Road sees a diamond interchange with Interstate 81 at Exit 101. Photo taken 07/16/05.
Exit 101 leaves Interstate 81 north for SSR 660 (State Park Road). SSR 660 ends at Claytor Lake State Park on the New River. SSR 611 (Wilderness Road) parallels Interstate 81 east to Mountain View. Photo taken 07/16/05.
Interstate 81 continues east toward the independent city of Radford. The first guide sign for Virginia 232 (1st Street) north and SSR 605 (Little River Road) south doubles as the "Radford Next 2 Exits" sign. Virginia 232 however does not loop back around to Interstate 81, and instead travels 4.33 miles to end at U.S. 11. Photo taken 07/16/05.
Interstate 81 lowers to cross the New River ahead of the folded diamond interchange with Virginia 232 (1st Street) north. Photo taken 07/16/05.
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The New River separates Pulaski and Montgomery Counties. Radford's city limits protrude into the River just north of Interstate 81. Photos taken 07/16/05.


 
Sources:
  1. http://www.virginiadot.org/newsroom/statewide/2010/vdot_reopens_first_four45199.asp.
  2. US 21 and branches @ Virginia Highways Project.
  3. Former VA 81 to VA 100 @ Virginia Highways Project.


Photo Credits:

  • 06/17/05 by AARoads.
  • 07/16/05 by AARoads.
  • 09/29/10 by AARoads and Carter Buchanan.
  • 10/02/10 by AARoads and Carter Buchanan.

Connect with:
Interstate 77
U.S. 11
U.S. 21
U.S. 52

Page Updated 02-13-2012.