Interstate 581 joins I-81 with Roanoke-Blackburg Regional Airport (ROA) and downtown Roanoke. U.S. 220 follows I-581 along the entire 6.64 mile course between I-81 and Downtown, and is part of future I-73. I-581 was formalized by the American Association of State Highway Officials (ASSHO) on November 10, 1958 1

Beginning at a directional T interchange with I-81 near Loch Haven, I-581 proceeds southeast to Roanoke-Blackburg Regional Airport. The freeway travels along the west side of the airport between Exits 2N-S (SR 117) and 3E-W (SR 101). Curving south at U.S. 460 (Orange Avenue), I-581/U.S. 220 lines the east of Downtown Roanoke. I-581 concludes at SR 24 (Elm Avenue) as the freeway continues U.S. 220 southwest toward Cave Spring.

Interchange numbers along I-581 ascend from I-81 southward, with Exit 6 (SR 24) being the last along the mainline. Multi-ramp exits along I-581 also use cardinal direction based suffixes.

The Valley View Interchange (Exit 3C) provides direct access to Valley View Mall from I-581/U.S. 220. The wye interchange was added in 1999, and redesigned into a diverging diamond interchange (DDI). $63.9-million in construction started in Summer 2014, expanded the previous partial interchange into a full access exchange. Work was formally completed with a ribbon cutting ceremony held on November 21, 2016. Associated work also added auxiliary lanes along I-581 from Exit 3C to Hershberger Road (Exits 3E/W).2

Interstate 581 U.S. 220 North
U.S. 220 brings commuters from Cave Spring into central Roanoke. Interstate 581 overlays the route northward from Exit 6. 12/30/08
Begin Interstate 581 shield assembly posted at the Elm Avenue (SR 24) overpass. Exit numbers count down from south to north and retain cardinal direction suffixes. 12/30/08
2 photos
2 photos
Downtown Roanoke from I-581/U.S. 220. With a population of 308,707 recorded in the 2010 census, the Roanoke metropolitan includes Botetourt County, Craig County, Franklin County, Roanoke County, Salem, Roanoke and the Town of Vinton. 07/24/04, 07/16/05
Confirming markers for I-581/U.S. 220 north near the viaduct at Downtown Roanoke. The six lane freeway elevates above the city street grid and several railroad lines within the vicinity of Tazewell and Campbell Avenues. 12/30/08
Interstate 581/U.S. 220 pass over Campbell Avenue and the Norfolk Southern Railroad east of Downtown Roanoke. 12/30/08
The cloverleaf interchange between I-581/U.S. 220 and U.S. 460 serves the Roanoke Civic Center, former home of the Roanoke Express ECHL franchise until its collapse in 2004 and the Roanoke Dazzle NBDL franchise that folded in 2006. The venue is also home to regional trade shows and concerts. 12/30/08
U.S. 460 doubles as U.S. 11 Alternate between U.S. 11 (Williamson Road) in Roanoke and SR 419 (Electric Road) in Salem. U.S. 220 Alternate follows U.S. 460 (Orange Avenue) east from the city to Bonsack and north to I-81 (Exit 150). U.S. 221 passes under I-581 south of the civic center with U.S. 11/SR 116. 12/30/08
I-581/U.S. 220 northbound at Exit 4E to U.S. 460 east, U.S. 11 Alternate north, SR 116 south (Orange Avenue) and the Roanoke Civic Center. U.S. 220 Business joins the three eastward to U.S. 11/221 (Williamson Road). U.S. 221/460 overlap east through Bonsack and Bedford. U.S. 220 Business follows Williamson Road south into Downtown. 12/30/08
Replaced guide signs at Exit 4E. U.S. 11 (Wiliamson Road) passes under the freeway without direct access on its course from Downtown to Hollins. 07/24/04
Traffic departs I-581/U.S. 220 north for U.S. 460 (Orange Avenue) at Exit 4W. U.S. 460/SR 116 overlap 2.3 miles along Orange Avenue between Lafayette Street and U.S. 11-221-220 Business (Williamson Road). The overlap skirts northern reaches of the Roanoke central business district west of the freeway. 12/30/08
Roanoke Regional Airport is served by the next three interchanges (Exits 3C, 3E-W, 2N-S) along I-581/U.S. 220 12/30/08
Exit 3C to Valley View Boulevard opened to traffic in the early 2000s to provide an alternate route to Roanoke Regional Airport. The was converted by 2016 into a diverging diamond interchange (DDI). 12/30/08
Valley View Boulevard travels north from Exit 3C to Valley View Mall and SR 101 (Hershberger Road) at Aviation Drive. 12/30/08
Like Exit 4E/W with U.S. 460, Exit 3E/W consists of a cloverleaf interchange. SR 101 (Hershberger Road) is an arterial/expressway with off-ramps to Roanoke Regional Airport. 12/30/08
Hershberger Road carries SR 101 one mile east to U.S. 11 (Williamson Road) south of SR 118 (Airport Road). Off-ramps link with a nearby shopping center, Valley View Boulevard south, and Aviation Drive north. 12/30/08
Exit 3W loops onto SR 101 (Hershberger Road) west to SR 117 (Peters CreekRoad) 12/30/08
I-581/U.S. 220 skim western reaches of Roanoke Regional Airport en route to a cloverleaf interchange with SR 117 (Peters Creek Road). 12/30/08
Exit 2N departs next for SR 117 (Peters Creek Road) northbound. SR 117 loops eight miles along Peters Creek Road from U.S. 11 through the city of Roanoke. 12/30/08
SR 117 (Peters Creek Road) northbound meets the north end of SR 118 (Airport Road) in 1.25 miles and U.S. 11 (Williamson Road) in 2.25 miles. 12/30/08
I-581/U.S. 220 leave the city of Roanoke at the SR 117 (Peters Creek Road) overpass. SR 117 straddles the city line west from Kingston to Medley before entering the city north of U.S. 460/11 Alternate (Orange Avenue). 12/30/08
The final shield for I-581 stands one half mile from the directional T interchange (Exits 1N/S) with Interstate 81. 12/30/08
U.S. 220 turns northward onto Interstate 81 for a seven mile overlap to Cloverdale and Daleville. 12/30/08
Interstate 581 ends as the traffic separates for Exit 1N (I-81/U.S. 220 north) and Exit 1S (I-81 south). 12/30/08
Salem joins Bristol as a control city for Interstate 81 south. Salem is an independent city adjacent to Roanoke to the west. Lexington lies 48 miles to the north by the merge of I-81 with I-64. 12/30/08
The previous set of guide signs posted at Exits 1N/1S. U.S. 220 follows Interstate 81 north to Exit 150 (U.S. 220 Alternate / Cloverdale Road). 07/24/04
I-81 joins I-77, 62 miles to the southwest outside of Wytheville. 12/30/08
Interstate 581 U.S. 220 South
Heading south from Interstate 81 along Interstate 581/U.S. 220 south near Kingston. 07/16/05
Meeting Interstate 581 first is SR 117 (Peters Creek Road) at a cloverleaf interchange (Exits 2S/N). 07/16/05
Exit 2S carries drivers onto SR 117 (Peters Creek Road) south to Medley and U.S. 460 (Orange Avenue) near Sunset Village and Edgewood in west Roanoke. 12/30/08
Interstate 581/U.S. 220 enter the city of Roanoke at the Exit 2N ramp departure to SR 117 (Peters Creek Road) north. SR 117 continues 2.6 miles to its end at U.S. 11 (Williamson Road) at Hollins. 07/16/05
Runway lights rise above Interstate 581/U.S. 220 south as the freeway passes by Roanoke Regional Airport. 12/30/08
SR 101 (Hershberger Road) provides access to Roanoke Regional Airport via its interchange with Airport Drive north near Exit 3E. 07/16/05
SR 101 (Hershberger Road) travels west from Exit 3W to SR 117 (Peters Creek Road). The route measures just three miles between Peters Creek Road and U.S. 11 (Williamson Road). 12/30/08
Heading east, SR 101 travels a brief expressway between Interstate 581/U.S. 220 and the exit with Airport Drive north and Valley View Boulevard south. 07/16/05
Continuing south along Interstate 581/U.S. 220 adjacent to Valley View Mall. 07/16/05
A diverging diamond interchange (DDI) adds traffic onto I-581/U.S. 220 south from Valley View Boulevard. Next in line is the cloverleaf interchange (Exit 4) with U.S. 460, U.S. 11 Alternate, and SR 116 (Orange Avenue). 07/16/05
Reassurance shields for I-581/U.S. 220 south posted after the Valley View Boulevard on-ramp and 10th Street under pass. Through traffic is advised to use the left-two lanes through Exits 4W/4E. 07/16/05
Nearing the Exit 4W off-ramp to U.S. 460 (Orange Avenue) west. U.S. 460 doubles as U.S. 11 Alternate between Williamson Road (U.S. 11, 220 Business, 221) and SR 419 (Electric Avenue) in Salem. SR 116 travels east along U.S. 460 between Lafayette Boulevard and Williamson Road south as well. 12/30/08
Exit 4W departs I-581/U.S. 220 south for U.S. 460 west, U.S. 11 Alternate south, and SR 116 north along Orange Avenue. U.S. 460 follows Orange Avenue west to Salem Turnpike and Melrose Avenue en route to downtown Salem. 07/16/05
Interests to Roanoke Civic Center, represented by the sign with the diamond array, are directed to use U.S. 460 (Orange Avenue) east to U.S. 11-220 Business-221 & SR 116 south on Williamson Road. U.S. 221 north joins U.S. 460 east from Williamson Road to Bonsack and Bedford. 07/24/04
Exit 5 provides a direct route to downtown Roanoke via U.S. 11, U.S. 220 Business, and SR 116 (Williamson Road) south. Points of interest include the Historic Market District, the Center In The Square complex, the Roanoke Valley Visitor Information Center, the Roanoke Higher Education Center, the Virginia Museum of Transportation, and the Roanoke Conference Center. 07/24/04
Exit 5 consists of a southbound only ramp directly onto Williamson Road southbound ahead of its viaduct over the Norfolk Southern Railroad into downtown. U.S. 11, U.S. 220 Business, U.S. 221 and SR 116 follow Williamson Road south from U.S. 460 (Orange Avenue) to Campbell Avenue (split of U.S. 11 south) and Franklin Road. 07/16/05
Continuing southbound on I-581/U.S. 220 over Kimball Avenue at the 0.75-mile overhead for the upcoming diamond interchange with SR 24 (Elm Avenue). SR 24 travels west from the town of Vinton into Roanoke where it ends at SR 116 (Jefferson Street). 07/24/04
A portion of the Roanoke skyline comes into view in this scene along the viaduct over the Norfolk Southern Railroad facility and Campbell Avenue east of U.S. 11. 07/16/05
Traffic to SR 24 (Elm Avenue) departs I-581/U.S. 220 southbound at the Tazewell Avenue undercrossing. Elm Avenue becomes a part of U.S. 221 south from downtown Roanoke between Franklin Road (U.S. 220 Business) and Main Street across the Roanoke River. SR 24 travels 94 miles from Roanoke to U.S. 60 at Mt. Rush otherwise. 07/24/04
End shield and milepost zero posted for Interstate 581 southbound at the SR 24 (Elm Avenue) over crossing. The U.S. 220 freeway continues a short distance to Cave Spring and an interchange with U.S. 220 Business (Franklin Road) and SR 419 (Electric Road). 07/24/04

Sources:
  1. American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (ASSHTO) Route Numbering Archive, letter to VA Department of Highways, dated November 10, 1958.
  2. http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/salem/valley_view_interchange.asp.


Photo Credits:

07/24/04, 07/16/05, 12/30/08 by AARoads

Connect with:
Interstate 81
U.S. 220
U.S. 11
U.S. 221
State Route 101 - Hershberger Road
State Route 116

Page Updated 04-18-2021.

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