I-81 Advisory Committee has first meeting

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LEXINGTON, VA (WDBJ7) The I-81 Advisory Committee met for the first time in Lexington Tuesday afternoon.

There was some routine business to be done, like making Del. Terry Austin chairman, and hearing reports from V-DOT on what they would like to do with 81.

But perhaps the most surprising – if not the only surprising – thing was the number of people who turned out to listen.

“It’s a huge crowd," said local Del. Ronnie Campbell (R-24th). "I was totally surprised.”

“We’re not talking specifically about one geographic region, we’re talking about the distance throughout the whole state," explained Del. Austin (R-19th). "So I think there’s interest about how we’re going to progress and make improvements about the corridor as a whole.”

And while a couple members of the public were able to tell the committee what they thought, that was not the purpose Tuesday.

“It was a matter of laying out a structure that we can put in place to be able to move the capital investments, the multi-modal investments and law enforcement,” said Shannon Valentine, Virginia's Secretary of Transportation.

And so to get moving on making changes to Interstate 81.