Traffic resumes along I-81 after fatal crash in Staunton area

Interstate 81 closed at mile marker 221
Interstate 81 closed at mile marker 221(WDBJ7)
Published: Nov. 19, 2022 at 10:17 AM EST
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STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) - UPDATE: All of I-81 is back to normal traffic flow, according to VDOT.

EARLIER STORY: One person has died as a result of a crash that happened on I-81 in the Staunton area around 6 a.m. Saturday.

According to Virginia State Police, a tractor-trailer was headed west on I-64. As the driver was taking the ramp to merge onto I-81 south, the big rig ran off the road and went through the guardrail, landing in the northbound lanes of I-81 and hitting a pickup.

A passenger in the pickup died at the scene; the drivers of the big rig and pickup were hospitalized.

The tractor-trailer was carrying chicken waste, which spilled across the travel lanes when the tank was damaged in the crash. Cleanup took several hours.

There were two secondary, minor crashes due to the slick road conditions caused by the waste spill, according to police. No injuries were involved in those.

The crash remains under investigation.

According to VDOT, all northbound and southbound lanes of I-81 at MM 221 are blocked near the overpass bridge that connects 81 and I-64.

The ramp from westbound I-64 to southbound I-81 is also closed. There is no estimate on reopening lanes. Avoid the area.

Route 262 (Woodrow Wilson Parkway) is a bypass around Staunton and is serving as a detour route.

  • Northbound I-81 traffic is detoured at exit 220 and follows Route 262 north to rejoin the interstate at exit 225.
  • Southbound I-81 traffic is detoured at exit 225 and follows Route 262 south to rejoin the interstate at exit 220.

VDOT is investigating damage to the I-64/I-81 overpass bridge, and repairs may be necessary before it reopens.

For updated traffic alerts and travel information, dial 511 or go to