I-81 advisory group to begin work on improvement plans

LEXINGTON, Va. (AP) — A committee tasked with making recommendations about how to improve Interstate 81 is holding its first meeting, and members of the public are welcome to attend.

The Virginia Department of Transportation says the Interstate 81 Advisory Committee will meet Tuesday afternoon in Lexington.

The committee will advise the Commonwealth Transportation Board on ways to fix the highway, an important artery currently plagued with crashes.

State lawmakers recently approved raising gas taxes along the highway’s corridor and truck registration fees to help pay for upgrades.

I-81 is vital to the state’s economy, stretching 325 miles (525 kilometers) along the western part of the state and heavily used by tractor-trailers. There are more than 2,000 crashes on the road each year, with more than a quarter involving heavy trucks.

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