I-81 Exit 245 Interchange Project

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Current Size: 80%

I-81 Exit 245 Improvements

The I-81 Exit 245 interchange is very important to the City of Harrisonburg, as it is a main interchange for many points of destination within and around the City. This exit serves as the primary access for James Madison University (JMU), which currently enrolls approximately 20,000 students, and is one of the region’s largest employers.  The university hosts sporting events, graduations, and many other events that contribute positively to the City’s economy. The exit also serves important employment and activity centers in the City and Rockingham County.

The scope of this project includes the realignment of the I-81 Exit 245 northbound off ramp to intersect Port Republic Road directly across from the Forest Hill Road intersection. Forest Hill Road provides direct access to the James Madison University East Campus, including the Convocation Center, and the current configuration of the northbound off ramp requires a difficult weave maneuver to access Forest Hill Road. The proposed realignment will involve the following improvements:

  • Relocation of the I-81 northbound off ramp to align with Forest Hill Road
  • Connection of the newly aligned ramp to the existing deceleration lane on I-81 with one 16' lane with a 50mph design speed, which will expand to three 13' lanes at the intersection of Port Republic Road (left- and right-turn lanes and a through lane).
  • 300' of storage within the 3 lane section
  • A 4' paved shoulder on the left, and an 8' paved shoulder on the right side of the ramp and lane
  • Modifications to existing signals on Port Republic Road
  • A new access road to serve an existing JMU parking lot and a private service station to mitigate access impacts caused by the project.

Exit 245 Interchange Project

Image file[2.8MB] Exit 245 Interchange Design


Design Open House Announcement

I-81 Exit 245, City of Harrisonburg

Northbound Off-ramp Realignment

Design Open House - Wednesday, February 28, 2018, 4:00pm – 6:00pm

City Council Chambers, 409 S. Main Street, Harrisonburg, VA 22801

Learn about the proposed realignment of the northbound off-ramp of I-81 Exit 245 at Port Republic Road.  The purpose of this project is to improve traffic operations at the I-81 Exit 245 northbound off ramp and along Route 253 Port Republic Road.  This will be an open-house style public hearing where citizens are invited to learn about, ask questions, and provide feedback on plans to realign the northbound off-ramp to intersect Port Republic Road directly across from the Forest Hill Road intersection.  In the case of inclement weather, the open house will be rescheduled for March 8, 2018 at the same time and place.  

PDF[9KB] Public Comment Form

PDF[34MB] Public Hearing Board 1

PDF[32MB] Public Hearing Board 2


Project Schedule

August 2015 – Interchange Alternatives Analysis Completed  

August 2016 – City begins engineering design of the project using VDOT Location and Design staff

February 28, 2018 – Design Open House PDF[2.8MB] Design Open House

July 2018 – Right-of-way and easement acquisition, utility relocation

February 2020 – Begin construction

September 2020 – Anticipated completion of construction