Interstate 81 slow-roll traffic control July 17-21 for placement of bridge Beams

Rockingham County - Harrisonburg

Route 720, bridge over I-81, Old Furnace Road, Smithland Road
Route 720 Bridge

STAUNTON — Bridge beam placement work will take place during the week of July 17-21, 2023 as part of the new Route 720 (Smithland Road/Old Furnace Road) bridge construction near Harrisonburg. A new bridge is being built over Interstate 81. The work will require slow-roll closures managed by the Virginia State Police at various times on northbound and southbound Interstate 81 lanes between exits 240 and 257 between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. Monday through Thursday nights.

A slow roll is a traffic management operation, where a traffic gap is created by reducing approaching traffic speeds to as low as 10 mph. This gap allows work, such as bridge beam placement, to safely take place free of live traffic. Traffic can also be temporarily stopped and held by a lead vehicle in each lane.  A slow roll operation typically lasts no more than 15 minutes at a time.  

On Friday night, July 21, single-lane closures are scheduled for I-81 northbound from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. The bridge beam work may extend into the week of July 24-28, 2023, requiring further slow-rolls and lane closures. All work is weather permitting.

Route 720 remains 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.

The new Route 720 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.

The Virginia Department of Transportation has additional information about the project at

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

A contract valued at $4.9 million was awarded to Triton Construction Inc. of Virginia in April 2022. Project completion is scheduled for late 2023.

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

Obtain traffic alerts and traveler information by dialing 511 or visiting For other assistance, call the VDOT Customer Service Center, available 24 hours-a-day, seven days a week. Citizens can dial 1-800-FOR- ROAD (1-800-367-7623) from anywhere in the state to report road hazards, ask transportation questions, or get information related to Virginia’s roads.

The VDOT Staunton District is on Facebook and Twitter. Follow VDOT statewide accounts on Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and YouTube. The VDOT web page is

Last updated: July 19, 2024

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