Brief overnight closures on I-81 southbound near Harrisonburg Jan. 23-27 for bridge demolition work

Harrisonburg and Rockingham County Area

Dynamic Message Board for Use in Work Zone
Dynamic Message Board

STAUNTON — Brief “slow roll” closures of Interstate 81 southbound are scheduled for Monday through Thursday nights, Jan. 23-27, near the city of Harrisonburg. The closures will be between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., and each one is scheduled for 15 minutes or less. They allow contractors to remove the concrete deck on the Route 720 (Smithland Road/Old Furnace Road) bridge over I-81 near mile marker 248.8.

On each night of slow-roll closures, Virginia State Police will hold I-81 southbound traffic at exit 257 (Harrisonburg). The southbound entrance ramp at exit 251 the Harrisonburg area will also briefly close during these times. I-81 southbound lanes and on-ramps will reopen as soon as it is safe for traffic to drive under the Route 720 bridge.

Additional closures of I-81 northbound and southbound will take place in 2023 during certain phases of bridge demolition and construction. The Virginia Department of Transportation will advise motorists when these closures are scheduled. VDOT contractors are removing the old Route 720 bridge and constructing a replacement. The project is expected to finish in fall 2023.

Route 720 is closed between Route 718 (Old Furnace Road) and F-238 (Buffalo Drive). Traffic is using a 3.5-mile detour.

  • On the east side of I-81, traffic will be detoured along Smithland Road turning right onto Linda Lane, right onto Country Club Road, right onto Vine Street, and then right onto Old Furnace Road to the end of the detour.
  • On the west side of I-81, traffic will be detoured along Smithland Road turning right onto Old Furnace Road, left onto Vine Street, left onto Country Club Road, left onto Linda Lane, and then left onto Smithland Road to the end of the detour.

Buffalo Drive will temporarily close during some phases of construction. Buffalo Drive will be signed, "Road Closed to Through Traffic" at the Route 724 (Trinity Church Road) intersection.

Drivers on I-81 northbound and southbound should be alert for overnight left-lane closures as needed between mile markers 248 and 250. These lane closures allow VDOT contractors to construct a center pier for the new Route 720 overpass bridge.

The new bridge will have two through lanes and five-foot shoulders. It will be constructed in the existing bridge location but will be about three feet higher. The intersection of Route 720 and Buffalo Drive will be improved to connect with the increased elevation.

A video shows project details and traffic restrictions during construction. The video can be viewed on VDOT’s YouTube Channel at

Additional information can be found on the Route 720 project page.

A contract valued at $4.9 million was awarded to Triton Construction Inc. of Virginia in April 2022. All work is weather permitting.

For updated traffic alerts and traveler information, dial 511 or visit

The VDOT Customer Service Center can assist with reporting road hazards, asking transportation questions, or getting information related to Virginia’s roads. Call 800-FOR- ROAD (800-367-7623) or use its mobile friendly website at Agents are available 24 hours-a-day, seven days a week.

The VDOT Staunton District is on Facebook and Twitter. Follow VDOT statewide accounts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn and Flickr. RSS feeds are also available for statewide information. The VDOT Web page is located at

The VDOT Staunton District serves Frederick, Shenandoah, Clarke, Warren, Page, Rockingham, Augusta, Highland, Rockbridge, Alleghany and Bath counties.

Last updated: July 19, 2024

Alert Icon

Please note that this file is not ADA compliant. Choose one of below options: