Drivers on I-81 were stuck between a rock and a busy place yesterday afternoon.
At 11 a.m., blasting caused a large boulder to land on the interstate.
There was no traffic on the road because each day, Monday through Friday, traffic between mile markers 120 and 125 in Montgomery County is detoured onto Route 460 due to construction on a truck lane. The interstate is usually reopened in the afternoon.
However, conditions were unfavorable along the five-mile stretch yesterday. At 1:52 p.m., the Virginia Department of Transportation announced that a dump truck crashed into the rear of a tractor trailer near the intersection of Route 460 and Route 633. Normally, traffic would be redirected back onto the interstate, but because of the boulder on the road, it could not be.
“We had two things out of the ordinary — we had a boulder and we had an accident on the detour route,” said Jason Bond, VDOT communication representative of the Salem district.
As a result, cars continued to be redirected onto the detour route, which was stopped. Traffic went to a standstill for nearly 20 minutes.
“It was not a good day,” Bond said. “Traffic was backed up on the interstate because the detour route was backed up, and we had the detour in place longer than usual because there was a boulder in the road.”
The detour route remained in effect until the construction team could break up the boulder on the road. I-81 reopened at about 4:20 p.m.