Interstate 81 South - Shenandoah & Rockingham Counties

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Interstate 81 South
U.S. 11 south connects with Strasburg. The town was founded in 1761 and incorporated in 1922. Located in the Shenandoah Valley, Strasburg played a role in the Civil War era, when Stonewall Jackson made Strasburg "the fountainhead of rail traffic for the South" by bringing railroad cars from the North to the South. Photo taken 06/01/04.
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Exit 298 leaves I-81 southbound for U.S. 11 south to Strasburg. U.S. 11 (Valley Pike) leaves Middletown and nips Warren County before meeting the freeway at a diamond interchange along Old Valley Pike. Photo taken 06/01/04. Second photo taken 12/30/08.
U.S. 48 and Virginia 55 meet I-81 south at the succeeding exit. Designated in 2003 and developed as part of Appalachian Regional Development Corridor H, U.S. 48 forms an expressway west from the state line to Elkins, West Virginia, and points beyond. Virginia opted to use existing Virginia 55 for its segment of Corridor H, with no immediate plans for upgrades. Photo taken 06/01/04.
U.S. 48 and Virginia 55 wind northwest from Exit 296 to the state line at Star Tannery . West from there, U.S. 48 extends to Wardensville, with the four-lane expressway built for Corridor H starts. Photo taken 12/30/08.
SR 55 forms a multi state route with WV 55 along side U.S. 48. East from Exit 296, SR 55 enters Strasburg, then parallels Interstate 66 from Front Royal east to U.S. 29 at Gainesville. Photo taken 06/01/04.
Advancing south, I-81 next meets SSR 651 west to Mount Olive and east to U.S. 11 and Toms Brook in one mile. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Unlike Arizona, Maryland, and West Virginia, Virginia generally only uses two advance signs for its rural interchanges: at the one mile advance and just prior to the gore point. SSR 651 follows Mount Olive Road between U.S. 11 (Old Valley Pike) and a dead end at Little North Mountain. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Southbound reassurance marker posted for Interstate 81 between the Exit 291 on-ramp and the SSR 653 (Brook Creek Road) overpass. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Woodstock, the Shenandoah County, follows in eight miles. Roanoke is now a 152-mile drive to the southwest. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Nearing the community of Woodstock, Interstate 81 expands its footprint and crosses Pughs Run. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Virginia 42 (Reservoir Road) meets Interstate 81 at a diamond interchange next. Originating in Woodstock just east of Exit 283, Virginia 42 heads south through Columbia Furnace, Forestville, Timberville, Harrisonburg, and Bridgewater before entering Augusta County. The southern terminus of the northern segment of Virginia 42 is at Interstate 64 & U.S. 60, Exit 29. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Exit 283 parts ways with I-81 south for Virginia 42 (Reservoir Road) east to U.S. 11 (Main Street) in Woodstock and west along Senedo Road to Columbia Furnace and then south toward Harrisonburg via Timberville. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Interstate 81 continues south near the Hoover Road (SSR 605) overpass and the next reassurance shield. Massanuetten Mountain occupies the eastern horizon. Photo taken 12/30/08.
New Market resides in the southern corner of Shenandoah County west of Massanuetten Mountain 18 miles to the south. Photo taken 12/30/08.
The subsequent exit along southbound Interstate 81 connects with Virginia 185 southeast to Edinburg and SSR 675 northwest to Columbia Furnace and Wolf Gap Recreation Area. Upon crossing into West Virginia, SSR 675 changes into SSR 23/10 en route to WV 55 at Wardensville. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Exit 279 leaves I-81 south for Virginia 185 (Stony Creek Road) and SSR 675. Virginia 185 is a fairly short route, connecting Interstate 81 with U.S. 11 in Edinburg. Southeast of Edinburg, SSR 675 continues across Massanutten Mountain to culminate in Luray. Photo taken 12/30/08.
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The next Interstate 81 reassurance shield and mileage guide sign combo posted along southbound. A half diamond interchange adds drivers from SSR 614 (Middle Road) from the Bowmans Crossing vicinity. U.S. 11 and the freeway continue close to one another to New Market. Photos taken 12/30/08.
Continuing south, Interstate 81 next meets Virginia 292 (Mt. Jackson Road) east to U.S. 11 (Main Street) and Mount Jackson and SSR 703 to SSR 614 (Middle Road) south to Virginia 263. A diamond interchange (Exit 273) joins the two highways. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Exit 273 departs for Virginia 292 (Mt. Jackson Road) to U.S. 11 and SSR 703 (Mt. Jackson Road) toward Virginia 263. Like Virginia 185, Virginia 292 is merely a connector route between Interstate 81 and U.S. 11. There is no direct connection for Virginia 263 to Basye and Orkney Springs from Interstate 81 otherwise. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Interstate 81 curves around the west side of Mt. Jackson, spanning Mill Creek, on the eight-mile approach to New Market. Harrisonburg follows in 26 miles. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Advancing south one mile ahead of Exit 269 with SSR 730 (Caverns Road) west to Shenandoah Caverns and east to U.S. 11 (Old Valley Pike). Photo taken 06/06/04.
Exit 269 consists of a diamond interchange with SSR 730 (Caverns Road) near Shenandoah Caverns and Rudes Hill. Several caverns are located in the Shenandoah Valley, including Shenandoah Caverns. Photo taken 06/06/04.
Forthcoming Exit 264 joins I-81 with U.S. 211 east to New Market, Luray, Shenandoah National Park, and Warrenton and Virginia 211 west to Timberville and Virginia 42. This is a major departure point from I-81 to the attractions in and around Shenandoah National Park. Photo taken 06/06/04.
U.S. 211 travels east to reach Shenandoah National Park and the famous Skyline Drive, which straddles the Blue Ridge Mountains as they head north toward Front Royal and south toward Waynesboro. Arguably one of the most scenic drives in this region, it takes a much more leisurely pace than Interstate 81 through some gorgeous eastern mountain scenery. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Exit 264 represents the western terminus of U.S. 211. Virginia 211 continues west from the exchange to Timberville, where it ends at Virginia 42. U.S. 211 heads east into New Market, then extends toward Luray, Luray Caverns, Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive, Sperryville and ultimately Warrenton. U.S. 211 is an unusual road, because it is one of a handful of odd-numbered U.S. routes that run east-west, it is less than 300 miles in length, and it is solely within one state (although it used to extend into Washington, D.C.). Photo taken 12/30/08.
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Taking the Exit 264 off-ramp to its end at Old Cross Road. U.S. 211 and Virginia 211 shields are misplaced, referring to the opposite that they should. Another pair of caverns may be reached via Exit 264: Luray Caverns via eastbound U.S. 211 over Massanutten Mountain in Luray and Endless Caverns south of New Market via U.S. 211 east to U.S. 11 south into Rockingham County. Photos taken 12/30/08.
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Interstate 81 exits Shenandoah County and enters Rockingham County. The independent city of Harrisonburg lies within the south center of the county. Photos taken 12/30/08.
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Southbound travelers slice through a set of hills and reach a set of rest areas north of Tenth Legion. Photos taken 12/30/08.
One mile north of Exit 257 with U.S. 11 and Virginia 259 north to Broadway and Fulks Run on I-81 southbound. Photo taken 12/30/08.
U.S. 11, which parallels Interstate 81 its entire length through Virginia, intersects with Interstate 81 again at Exit 257. Use U.S. 11 south to Lacey Spring and north to Endless Caverns. Virginia 259 heads north from this interchange into West Virginia; West Virginia 259 ends at West Virginia 55/Future U.S. 48 in Baker. Photo taken 06/06/04.
Beyond Exit 257, this mileage sign provides the distance to Harrisonburg (11 miles), Staunton (38 miles), and Roanoke (119 miles). Photo taken 12/30/08.
The first of four Harrisonburg exits is that of Exit 251. Exit 251 consists of a trumpet interchange and access road joining Interstate 81 with parallel U.S. 11 (North Valley Pike) as it leads southwest into the city. A connection between Exits 251 and 243 would make an excellent business loop for Interstate 81 through downtown Harrisonburg. Photo taken 12/30/08.
A trumpet interchange and access road links I-81 with parallel U.S. 11 (Valley Pike) at Exit 251. Southward, U.S. 11 follows Main Street to the Harrisonburg central business district. Photo taken 06/06/04.
Now on the spur from Interstate 81 to U.S. 11, a left turn directs traffic onto southbound U.S. 11 into Harrisonburg and a right turn leads to northbound U.S. 11 en route to Lacey Spring. Photo taken 06/06/04.
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The main Harrisonburg interchange is Exits 247B-A, a full cloverleaf with U.S. 33 (Market Street). U.S. 33 east heads toward Elkton and west into Downtown Harrisonburg. Note the landscape change from trees to single family homes along the west side of the freeway right of way. Photo taken 06/06/04. Second photo taken 12/30/08.
What originally instructed drivers bound for Downtown Harrisonburg to take Exit 247B was altered with a Clearview sign replacement to reference Exit 245. Downtown lies at the cross roads of U.S. 33 (Market Street) and U.S. 11 (Main Street) north of JMU. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Exits 247B/A results in a tight pair of exits and entrances that result in weaving. Through traffic is advised to use the left lane to avoid merging traffic. Photo taken 06/06/04.
The first exit in the cloverleaf interchange is Exit 247B for westbound U.S. 33 into downtown Harrisonburg and onward to Franklin, West Virginia. Signed as east-west in Virginia, U.S. 33 gradually heads northwest from Virginia through West Virginia and Ohio to culminate its journey in northern Indiana. Photo taken 06/06/04.
Exit 247B departs I-81 south for (Market Street) west to Downtown Harrisonburg. Further west, U.S. 33 passes through Rawley Springs before climbing to a 3,450 foot summit in the Shenandoah Mountains at the West Virginia State Line. Once in the Mountain State, U.S. 33 heads west to meet Corridor H in Elkins. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Afterward, the second ramp (Exit 247A) leads to eastbound U.S. 33 (Market Street) to Shenandoah National Park, Stanardsville, Gordonsville, Louisa, and Montpelier. U.S. 33 reaches its southeastern terminus at the intersection of Broad Street and Hancock Street in Richmond (at that intersection, U.S. 33 converts into Virginia 33 and splits off U.S. 250). Virginia 33 continues east to Stingray Point on the Chesapeake Bay.
U.S. 33 is one of four highways that intersect the Skyline Drive within the Shenandoah Park. From north to south, Skyline Drive intersects SSR 614, U.S. 33, U.S. 211, and U.S. 340. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Interstate 81 bisects the campus of James Madison University between U.S. 33 (Market Street) and Virginia 253 (Port Republic Road). The university may be seen on both sides of Interstate 81 as it passes through downtown Harrisonburg between Exits 247 and 245; a pedestrian tunnel passes under the freeway to connect the two sides of the campus. Photo taken 12/30/08.
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Interstate 81 south passes under James Madison University (JMU) Boulevard just ahead of Virginia 253 (Port Republic Road). Virginia 253 was upgraded from SSR 659 between 2004 and 2008 and currently travels between U.S. 11 (Main Street) and U.S. 340 (East Side Highway) near Port Republic and Grottoes. Photo taken 06/06/04. Second photo taken 12/30/08.
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A diamond interchange joins Interstate 81 with Virginia 243 (Port Republic Road) at Exit 245 in Harrisonburg.
Founded in 1908 and named for the fourth president of the United States, James Madison University (JMU) is a four-year university with an enrollment of 15,000 students. Bridgeforth Stadium is located to the east of the freeway. Use Exit 245, Virginia 253 to unsigned Virginia 331 (Bluestone Drive and University Boulevard) to reach the campus. Photo taken 06/06/04. Second photo taken 12/30/08.
Interstate 81 continues 26 miles to Staunton and 59 miles to Lexington from Harrisonburg. Photo taken 12/30/08.
A trumpet interchange (Exit 243) and access road connects I-81 with adjacent U.S. 11 at south Harrisonburg in one mile. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Exit 243 leaves Interstate 81 south for U.S. 11 (South Main Street). U.S. 11 continues along Interstate 81 from south Harrisonburg to Mount Crawford.
The Shenandoah Valley is yielding to development as the city of Harrisonburg gradually expands. A regional center, the city of Harrisonburg boasts a population of over 50,000. Founded in July 1780, Harrisonburg is the seat of Rockingham County and consists of 17.394 square miles in area. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Heading south from Exit 243 on the 23-mile drive to Staunton. Roanoke is now 104 miles out. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Interstate 81 south departs the city of Harrisonburg at the crossing of Blacks Run and reenters Rockingham County. Technically, the city of Harrisonburg is an entity separate from Rockingham County, so county line signs like this are used in Virginia. Photo taken 12/30/08.
Virginia 257 and SSR 682 (Friedens Church Road) converge at I-81 at Mount Crawford in one mile. Photo taken 06/06/04.
Virginia 257 (Friedens Church Road) travels west from Exit 240 to Mount Crawford and Bridgewater. SSR 682 continues Friedens Church Road east to Virginia 276 (Cross Keys Road), north of Weyers Cave. Photo taken 12/30/08.


Photo Credits:

06/01/04, 06/06/04, 12/30/08 by AARoads

Connect with:
U.S. 11
U.S. 211 & State Route 211

Page Updated 04-20-2010.