Interstate 81 South - Washington County

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Interstate 81 South
Interstate 81 passes by Mountain Empire Airport (MKJ) on the one mile approach to the Exit 54 diamond interchange with SSR 683 (Winsor Road). Photo taken 10/02/10.
Exit 54 departs I-81 south for SSR 683 (Winsor Road). Virginia Secondary 683 ends at adjacent U.S. 11 (Lee Highway) west of Groseclose and the airport. Northward Winsor Road ends at SSR 617 by Davis Valley. Photo taken 10/02/10.
A southbound side rest area follows along Interstate 81 after Exit 54. This is the last facility in Virginia. Photo taken 10/02/10.
The town of Marion is eight miles west along Interstate 81 south. Bristol is now 51 miles away. Photo taken 10/02/10.
U.S. 11 switches sides with Interstate 81 just west of the rest area en route to Atkins. Exit 50 joins the two parallel routes via SSR 622 at Exit 50. Photo taken 10/02/10.
One half mile east of the Exit 50 diamond interchange with SSR 622 (Nicks Creek Road) for U.S. 11 and Atkins. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Virginia Secondary 622 (Nicks Creek Road) leads south from I-81 and Exit 50 to Virginia 16 on Brushy Mountain. SR 16 heads south from there to Sugar Grove and Troutdale. Northward from Atkins and US 11, SSR 622 takes a mountainous route to Virginia 42. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Motorists are advised caution for slippery conditions over the next nine miles of Interstate 81 south during inclement weather. The freeway dates to 1963 and 1964 along this stretch.1 Photo taken 10/02/10.
U.S. 11 (Lee Highway) and Interstate 81 come together again at the Exit 47 diamond interchange. Exit 47 of southbound directly meets Lee Highway at Mt. Carmel. Photo taken 10/02/10.
U.S. 11 acts as a business loop through Marion between Exits 47 and 44. The highway follows Main Street town. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Interstate 81 hugs the hillside of Goodpasture Ridge above Marion between Exits 47 and 45. Photo taken 10/02/10.
SR 16 (Commerce Street) and Interstate 81 converge at a diamond interchange (Exit 45 ) in one mile. SR 16 lines the Staley Creek valley east from Marion to Furnace Hill and Attoway. South from Brushy Mountain, the state route continues to cross the Iron Mountains en route to Troutdale and U.S. 58. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Virginia 16 takes Commerce Street north from Exit 45 to a brief overlap with U.S. 11 along Main Street and from Marion to Tazwell. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Interstate 81 enters the town limits of Marion at Exit 45. Taking the Exit 45 off-ramp to SR 16, drivers turn south to Sugar Grove and north to downtown Marion. Virginia 16 is part of a multi-state route between Waxhaw, NC and St. Mary's, WV. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Just west of the SR 16 on-ramp, Interstate 81 passes over SSR 658 (Scratch Gravel Road), a local road southwest from Marion to Holston Mill. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Abingdon, a town of over 8,000, is the next control point featured on southbound mileage signs for Interstate 81 at 28 miles southwest from Marion. Photo taken 10/02/10.
A half diamond interchange (Exit 44) connects U.S. 11 (Main Street) with Interstate 81 at the west side of Marion via SSR 730 (Washington Avenue). Photo taken 10/02/10.
The southbound on-ramp to Interstate 81 from U.S. 11 (Lee Highway) lies 1.2 miles west of the Exit 44 off-ramp. This reassurance marker follows on the stretch ahead of the Laurel Springs Road (SSR 707) overpass. Photo taken 10/02/10.
West of Laurel Springs Creek, Interstate 81 is now 25 miles from Abingdon and 40 miles from Bristol. Photo taken 10/02/10.
U.S. 11 stays close to Interstate 81 from McMullin west to Seven Mile Ford. A diamond interchange with Virginia Secondary 645 (Chestnut Ridge Road) connects the two routes. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Interstate 81 southbound shield assembly posted at Seven Mile Ford. The Middle Fork of the Holston River flows between the freeway and U.S. 11 to Chilhowie. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Interstate 81 lines the northern hill side above the Middle Fork Holston River valley. Photo taken 10/02/10.
SR 107 begins a 8.39-mile route north from Exit 35 in one mile. The state route links I-81 with adjacent Chilhowie and Saltville (SR 91) at the northern terminus. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Exit 35 leaves Interstate 81 south for Virginia 107 (Whitetop Road) north into Chilhowie and SSR 762 south to St. Clair Bottom. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Interstate 81 spans the Middle Fork Holton River just west of Exit 35 and enters Washington County a short distance ahead. Photo taken 10/02/10.
U.S. 11 (Lee Highway) and Interstate 81 again swap sides at the Exit 32 diamond interchange in one mile. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Exit 32 also serves SSR 751 (Fleet Road) north to Fleet while providing a cutoff to SR 91 and Saltville and SSR 751 south along Kilmachronan Drive to Huff Airport. Photo taken 10/02/10.
U.S. 11 lines the south side of I-81 west from Exit 32 to Old Glade Spring. Glove Drive (SSR F033) comprises the north side service road along the same stretch. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Virginia 91 is another multi-state route, traveling 55.1 miles in Virginia from Tazewell south to state line and as Tennessee 91 to Hunter. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Entering the Exit 29 diamond interchange with Virginia 91 (Maple Street) at Glade Spring. SR 91 bypasses town to the east along Monte Vista Drive en route to Saltville. Southward the state highway continues 13 miles to Damascus near the state border. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Abingdon is another 12 miles along Interstate 81 south (west). The freeway remains through a wide agricultural valley on the drive. Photo taken 10/02/10.
The next exit of I-81 south joins the freeway with SSR 737 (College Drive) by the community of Emory. College Drive leads north to SSR 609 (Hillman Highway) and Garnand Drive east into the campus of Emory & Henry College. Photo taken 10/02/10.
South from the Exit 26 diamond interchange, SSR 737 (College Drive) concludes in 0.7 miles at U.S. 11 (Lee Highway). Photo taken 10/02/10.
Virginia 80 (Glenbrook Avenue) sees a diamond interchange (Exit 24) with Interstate 81 between Cedarville and Meadow View in one mile. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Exit 24 departs Interstate 81 south for SR 80 (Glenbrook Avenue). Virginia 80 ends at U.S. 11 and SSR 803 to the south. The state highway is part of a 581-mile route stretching 581 miles along the southern tier of Kentucky and via a ferry across the Mississippi River to southeastern Missouri. Photo taken 10/02/10.
SSR 704 (Enterprise Road) travels north-south between parallel SSR 609 (Hillman Highway) and U.S. 11 (Lee Highway). Exit 22 serves an industrial park along the north side of Interstate 81. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Interstate 81 curves southwest along side Harrison Road ahead of this shield assembly. Photo taken 10/02/10.
U.S. 58 west combines with U.S. 11 south from Damascus ahead of a six-ramp parclo interchange (Exit 19) with Interstate 81. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Exit 19 leaves Interstate 81 south for U.S. 11 (Lee Highway) south into the town of Abingdon. U.S. 11 acts as a business loop for Interstate 81 to Exit 14. U.S. 58 west joins the freeway otherwise to bypass the community of 8,000. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Interstate 81 south & U.S. 58 west
Exit 17 constitutes a diamond interchange with U.S. 58 Alternate west and Virginia 75 at Cummings Street in Abingdon. U.S. 58 Alternate branches northwest from U.S. 58 here in a lengthy loop from Abingdon to Holston, Norton, and Big Stone Gap to Jonesville. Virginia 75, a 10.6-mile route, travels south from Abingdon to Green Spring and as Tennessee 75 to U.S. 421 at Holston Valley, near South Holston Dam. Photo taken 10/02/10.
U.S. 19 enters Abingdon with U.S. 58 Alternate from Hansonville and Holston to the northeast. The US route turns westerly along side U.S. 11 (Main Street) to Bristol. SR 140 connects the adjacent US highway pair with Interstate 81 at Exit 14. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Virginia 140 comprises just 0.37 miles from Exit 14 to U.S. 11 & 19 while SSR 647 (Old Jonesboro Road) stems southwest from the diamond interchange to nearby residential subdivisions and Hall Bottom. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Now just 12 miles east of Bristol, southbound motorists along Interstate 81 see Knoxville for the first time on mileage signage. Photo taken 10/02/10.
SSR 611 follows Spring Creek Road south from Interstate 81 & U.S. 58 (Exit 13) to SSR 647 (Old Jonesboro Road) and north to adjacent U.S. 11 & 19 (Lee Highway). Photo taken 10/02/10.
Southbound Interstate 81 & U.S. 58 reach the Exit 13 off-ramp to SSR 611. Virginia Secondary 611 continues along Providence Road north from U.S. 11 & 19 to SSR 848 (Wyndale Road). Virginia Highlands Airport (VJI) lies to the east along Lee Highway. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Exit 10 consists of a diamond interchange with a north-south access road (SSR F-310) to U.S. 11 & 19 (Lee Highway), east of Preston Hills, and Majestic Drive near Evergreen Hills. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Interstate 81 south & U.S. 58 west enter the independent city of Bristol ahead of the Exit 7 ramp departure to Old Airport Road. Old Airport Road stems south from U.S. 11 & 19 (Lee Highway) and Clear Creek Road) in an arc to Bonham Road near Shakesville. Photo taken 10/02/10.
U.S. 11 & 19 (Lee Highway) navigate westward from Bonham Road to cross paths with Interstate 81 & U.S. 58 directly at Exit 5. The pair wind southwest through Virginia Heights to Euclid Avenue and the Bristol city street grid. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Entering the Exit 5 diamond interchange with U.S. 11 & 19 (Lee Highway). U.S. 19 travels south from Bristol with U.S. 11E to Bluff City, TN, where the route splits. U.S. 11's partition takes U.S. 11E to Johnson City and U.S. 11W west from Bristol to Kingsport. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Shields posted for Interstate 81 south & U.S. 58 west. U.S. 58 was moved from an overlap with U.S. 11 along Lee Highway between Abingdon and Bristol in 1966. Photo taken 10/02/10.
Heading west from U.S. 11 & 19 (Exit 5) toward Interstate 381 south (Exit 3). Interstate 381 constitutes a 1.67-mile freeway spur linking Interstate 81 & U.S. 58 with Commonwealth and Euclid Avenues north of downtown Bristol. Photo taken 05/31/07.
One half mile east of the Exit 3 ramp departure to Interstate 381 south. Interstate 381 sees no exits between Interstate 81 & U.S. 58 and the intersection of Commonwealth Avenue (unsigned Virginia 381 south) and Keys Street. Photo taken 10/02/10.
A tri-level stack interchange facilitates the movements between Interstates 81 and 381 at Exit 3. Photo taken 05/31/07.
U.S. 58 west concludes an 18-mile overlap with I-81 south at forthcoming Exit 1. Pictured here is the 1.50 mile overhead for the U.S. 58 and 421 at the Wagner Road (SSR 680) underpass. Photo taken 05/31/07.
Drawing to within one half mile of the Interstate 81 southbound and U.S. 58 westbound split at Exit 1B. U.S. 58 departs the freeway and joins U.S. 421 north (Gate City Highway) for a 42 mile overlap to the village of Duffield. The two highways travel 25 miles west to Gate City (pop. 2,159) where they combine with U.S. 23. Photo taken 05/31/07.
Entering the Exit 1 parclo interchange with U.S. 58 west & 421 (Gate City Highway) north. The two travel a rural two-lane road 19 miles to Hiltons. Photo taken 05/31/07.
Interstate 81 South
Interstate 81 southbound at the Exit 1A loop ramp onto U.S. 421 south (Gate City Highway). U.S. 421 merges nearby with U.S. 11W at Euclid Avenue north to Commonwealth Avenue. Interstate 81 crosses paths with U.S. 11W at Exit 75 within the Volunteer State. Photo taken 05/31/07.
Interstate 81 continues along the Bristol city and Washington County line to the state line. Photo taken 05/31/07.
Crossing into the state of Tennessee on Interstate 81 southbound. 0.75 miles ahead is the U.S. 11W (Exit 75) directional cloverleaf interchange with Lee Highway. U.S. 11W is the main highway between Bristol and Kingsport, Tennessee. Photo taken 08/24/03.
Interstate 381 south to Commonwealth Avenue provides a direct connection to U.S. 11E-19-421 south into Bristol, Tennessee. The route also the most direct from I-81 south to Bristol Motor Speedway. Photo taken 10/02/10.


  1. Interstate 81 and Branches (Virginia Highways Project.

Photo Credits:

  • 08/24/03 by AARoads and Justin Cozart.
  • 05/31/07 by AARoads and Carter Buchanan.
  • 10/02/10 by AARoads and Carter Buchanan.

Connect with:
Interstate 381 & State Route 381
U.S. 58
U.S. 460

Page Updated 02-12-2013.