As part of the construction project to improve the Interstate 581/Route 220 Expressway interchange at Elm Avenue in Roanoke, drivers traveling in the area noticed new traffic patterns and lane closures on Elm Avenue and Interstate 581 this week.
North and southbound I-581/Route 220 Expressway were reduced to two lanes in each direction as barriers were put in place to separate traffic from the construction area. As part of this process the southbound off and on ramps were widened to accommodate two lanes of traffic.
Traffic on Elm Avenue has been shifted to the southern side of the bridge over I-581. The road has now been reduced to one through lane and one dedicated left turn lane in each direction. As part of this change traffic in the through lanes on the bridge have been restricted to 11 feet. A barrier wall has also been installed on the north side of the bridge to separate the active work area from traffic.
The interchange improvement project in Roanoke is designed to relieve congestion along Elm Avenue and its intersections, including the northbound and southbound off-ramps from I-581.
In terms of construction, this will be accomplished by the addition of one lane to both off ramps from I-581 and extending the left turn lane in each direction on Elm Avenue. Consequently, extending the left turn lanes will require the widening of two bridges on Elm Avenue: the bridge over I-581 and the bridge over the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks. The existing substandard vertical clearance over I-581 will be addressed as part of this project as well.
VDOT and design-build contractor American Infrastructure Inc. held a final public information meeting to discuss the upcoming project to improve the Interstate 581 and Elm Avenue interchange in Roanoke in April. Phase One of the project will take approximately eleven months and is now underway. It will include removal and replacement of signage, construction of the northern portions of both bridges that span the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks and I-581 and the widening of Elm Avenue to the north. The phase also includes construction of bridge piers, drainage structures, curb and gutter, guardrail and concrete barriers as well as retaining walls at the southbound off-ramp. Additionally, a stormwater management pond will be constructed west of the southbound on-ramp.