Northam comes to Salem to sign I-81 improvement legislation

SALEM, Va. (WDBJ7) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam was at VDOT headquarters in Salem Friday to sign legislation aimed at improving Interstate 81.

Several local delegates and senators were alongside him, including Delagates Chris Hurst, Sam Rasoul, Steve Landes and Terry Austin, Senators Creigh Deeds and Bill Carrico.

Shannon Valentine, Secretary of Transportation for Virginia, was also there.

The governor said the changes will support Virginia's number one priority, which he says is the economy. The bipartisan legislation will kick start $2.2 billion worth of projects along I-81. Drivers can see some of the primary work begin in July. Those include message boards and traffic cameras.

That work, he said, is necessary, especially considering the Governor was caught in traffic due to an accident on I-81 while heading to the signing event.

"It's an interstate that runs north to south. So many accidents it becomes so inefficient and dangerous to drive on and so this is an important area of our commonwealth - Salem, Roanoke," he said. "So we just thought it was a good place to sign our pieces of legislation today."