Interstate 581

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Not to be confused with PA 581.

Interstate 581 marker

Interstate 581
Route information
Maintained by VDOT
Length: 6.35 mi[1] (10.22 km)
Existed: late 1950s – present
Major junctions
South end: US 220 / SR 24 in Roanoke
North end: I‑81 / US 220 near Hollins
Highway system
I-564 SR 598

Interstate 581 (I-581) is a spur off Interstate 81 into Roanoke, Virginia, United States, completely overlapping U.S. Route 220.

Route description[edit]

The I-581 designation ends at the Elm Avenue (State Route 24) interchange in downtown Roanoke, Virginia, where US 220 continues south as the Roy L. Webber Expressway. I-581 was constructed as a six lane highway for its entire length and has not been widened in its history.

Most of I-581's exits are cloverleaf interchanges, which can cause weaving. The northern terminus has short merge areas with I-81, especially the left merge in the southbound direction. While traffic volumes can be high, especially near downtown Roanoke and Valley View Mall, bumper to bumper traffic is not common.[citation needed]

Roanoke Regional Airport, Valley View Mall, and the Roanoke Civic Center are all located adjacent to I-581. The Hershberger Road (State Route 101) exit has become a focus of development. In addition to Valley View, two large hotels were constructed in the early 1980s with another group of hotels being constructed from the mid-1990s through the present. In 2002, local CBS affiliate WDBJ constructed its new facility, designed to broadcast in HDTV, on Hershberger Road near I-581.

The southern end of I-581 offers views of the downtown Roanoke skyline, most prominently the Hotel Roanoke, the Wachovia Tower, the former Roanoke Shops of Norfolk Southern, the Norfolk Southern tower, and St. Andrews Catholic Church. The Mill Mountain Star is also clearly visible.

The road is planned to become part of an extension of Interstate 73 in Virginia.

History[edit]

Roy L. Webber Expressway[edit]

In 1980, the highway was extended approximately 3.3 miles (5.3 km) from the Elm Avenue interchange to State Route 419 near Tanglewood Mall in Roanoke County. US 220 continues as a four lane arterial road south of the SR 419 interchange. Since the extension was not constructed to full Interstate Highway standards, it only carried the US 220 designation and was named the Roy L. Webber Expressway after a former mayor of Roanoke. The primary interchange along the expressway is at Wonju Street, which links Franklin Road (U.S. Route 220 Business) and Colonial Avenue and Brandon Avenue (U.S. Route 11). This exit provides quick access to downtown Roanoke from residential areas in southwest Roanoke. Wonju Street is named after Wonju, South Korea, one of Roanoke's sister cities. The expressway was originally constructed with four lanes but was widened to six lanes in the mid-1990s.

Exit list[edit]

County Location Mile[1] km Exit Destinations Notes
City of Roanoke 0.00 0.00 US 220 south – Martinsville Continuation past terminus
0.00 0.00 6 SR 24 (Elm Avenue) – Vinton Southern terminus
0.66 1.06 5
US 11 south / US 220 Bus. south – Downtown Roanoke
Southbound exit and northbound entrance
0.97 1.56 4 US 460 (Orange Avenue) Signed as exits 4E (east) and 4W (west)
2.65 4.26 3C Valley View Boulevard – Airport Northbound exit and southbound entrance
3.76 6.05 3 SR 101 (Hershberger Road) – Airport Signed as exits 3E (east) and 3W (west)
5.51 8.87 2 SR 117 (Peters Creek Road) Signed as exits 2N (north) and 2S (south)
Roanoke   6.35 10.22 1 I‑81 / US 220 north – Lexington, Staunton, Bristol Northern terminus of I-581 and concurrency with US 220
Signed as exits 1N (north) and 1S (south)
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Jurisdiction Report - Roanoke County". Virginia Department of Transportation. 2012. Retrieved September 9, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Route map: Google / Bing