ROANOKE CO., Va. -

Drivers are dealing with major backups in Montgomery County.

Paving work on Interstate 81 North is forcing them to detour onto Route 460.

I-81 North has one lane open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. between Mile Markers 118 and 132, and it's for tractor-trailers only.

The people who live nearby and drive through on a regular basis remember all too well when I-81 was shut down last summer.

This time around: they're used to it, but still not happy about it.

George Cooper said he spent an hour in bumper-to -bumper traffic at 7 a.m. Monday morning.
By early afternoon, things were moving, but slowly on Route 460 East.

“It's kind of died down some since this morning because everybody's at work, but I hope it's not going to be like this all week, but they said it would be,” Cooper said.

On her way to Roanoke to run an errand, Danielle Ellis was filling up before hitting the backup. She was back 10 minutes later.

“It was jam packed, I wasn't even going to try to even attempt it. I turned around,” Ellis said.

Cindy Turner runs a convenience store along the detour. She's heard there have been a good number of fender benders.

Turner thinks less rain and more comfort with the change will make things better.

“I think if there's no accidents and the weather clears up it'll be a little more smooth sailing,” Turner said.

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Backup begins from detour off I-81 North in Montgomery County

If you're using Interstate 81 North in Montgomery County, expect a detour for the next week.

From Interstate 81 North, drivers have to exit at the Christiansburg exit 118C. From there, traffic is being diverted to Route 460 East. This will take you back to I-81 North from the Dixie Caverns exit 132. This detour will be in place for the next seven days, 24 hours a day, until April 14th.

There is one minor change to make note of for the daytime hours. Between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. each day, one lane on I-81 North will be open, but only for tractor-trailers.

All other traffic will have to use the detour to Route 460 East.

The reason for this detour is a maintenance project by the Virginia Department of Transportation. Crews are working on a paving project between mile markers 121 and 125 in Montgomery County.

The detours are only in place until April 14th but if weather becomes an issue, we could see detours for a few more days past the 14th.

We actually took the full detour and by the time we got to Elliston in Montgomery County, that's where the backup began. It lasted all the way to the Dixie Caverns exit in Roanoke County. For us, it was a three-mile backup and took about an hour to get through it all.