Interstate 381 Virginia

Interstate 381 Virginia
History
North End
South End
Bristol, VA Map

Overview

With no mainline interchanges, Interstate 381 constitutes a 1.67 mile long freeway spur from I-81 west of Virginia Heights to Commonwealth Avenue north of Downtown Bristol, Virginia. Unsigned Virginia State Route 381 extends 1.21 miles south along Commonwealth Avenue from the freeway end at Keys Street to the Tennessee state line.

History

The spur into Bristol was part of the Virginia Department of Highways proposed Interstate Urban Area Numerology sent to the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) on April 7, 1958. The urban connections for the five areas in Virginia were initially identified with a prefix of U. The stub into Bristol was assigned Interstate U1. U2 was the predecessor for I-581 in Roanoke and U3, U4 and U5 were assigned to Hampton Roads.

The Virginia Department of Highways and AASHTO Route Numbering Committee eventually came into agreement on properly designated Interstate route numbers. Interstate 381 was one of seven urban area routes in Virginia outlined to AASHTO on July 16, 1958. These were approved on November 10, 1958.

Interstate 381 was constructed along with a six mile section of I-81 between U.S. 11W by the Tennessee state line and U.S. 11/19 (Lee Highway) in Bristol, Virginia. Costing $7 million, the two sections of Interstate Highway opened to traffic on November 20, 1961.1

Widening of Interstate 81 at the north end of I-381 was completed by 1998. Signs for Virginia Route 381 along Commonwealth Avenue south to U.S. 11/19/421 at Euclid Avenue were removed by 2005. Traffic lights were added at I-381 south with Keys Street west and Church Street east by 2007.

Route Information

  • North End – Bristol, VA

  • South End – Bristol, VA

  • Mileage – 1.67

  • Cities – Bristol

  • JunctionsI-81

Source: December 31, 2018 Interstate Route Log and Finders List

I-381 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)

Location Vehicles per day
US 11 to I-381 15,000
SR 381 to I-81 15,000

Highway Guides

North End I-81 US 58 – Bristol, Virginia

I-381 North at I-81 US 58

I-381 north at I-81/US 58 - Bristol, VA

Interstate 381 curves northeast beside the Autumn Ridge subdivision to the directional T interchange (Exit 1) with I-81/U.S. 58. 05/26/21

I-381 north at I-81/US 58 - Bristol, VA

Although unmarked from I-381, U.S. 58 overlaps with I-81 southwest 2.44 miles to U.S. 421 (Gate City Highway) and northeast 15.84 miles to U.S. 11 at Abingdon. 05/26/21

I-381 north at I-81/US 58 - Bristol, VA

Interstate 81 travels northeast from Bristol to Wytheville, where it combines with I-77, Christiansburg and Roanoke. Southwest into Tennessee, I-81 runs between Johnson City and Kingsport to I-40 near Dandridge. 05/26/21

I-81 North US 58 East at I-381

I-81/US 58 north at I-381 - Bristol, VA

I-81/U.S. 58 straddle the Bristol city line northeast between Clayman Ridge and the Belle Meadows community to Exit 3 with I-381 south. 05/26/21

I-81/US 58 north at I-381 - Bristol, VA

Sound walls separate I-81/U.S. 58 northbound from adjacent Island Road ahead of the Pittstown Road underpass and exchange with I-381. 05/26/21

I-81/US 58 north at I-381 - Bristol, VA

Exit 3 separates from I-81/U.S. 58 north for Interstate 381 southwest to Commonwealth Avenue. 05/26/21

I-81 South US 58 West at I-381

I-81/US 58 south at I-381 - Bristol, VA

I-81/U.S. 58 advance west from U.S. 11/19 (Lee Highway) by The Falls retail complex in north Bristol to Exit 3 for Interstate 381 south. 05/26/21

I-81/US 58 south at I-381 - Bristol, VA

Island Road and Long Crescent Drive parallel I-81/U.S 58 leading west into the directional T interchange (Exit 3) with Interstate 381. 05/26/21

I-81/US 58 south at I-381 - Bristol, VA

Interstate 381 and Virginia Route 381 collectively run 2.88 miles south to State Street, where U.S. 11E/19/421 cross into Tennessee at Downtown Bristol. 05/26/21

I-381 North End Throwback

Photos covering the north end of Interstate 81 from 08/23/03, 07/16/05, 09/29/10 and 10/02/10.

South End Virginia 381 – Bristol, Virginia

I-381 South at SR 381 Commonwealth Avenue

I-381 south at Commonwealth Av - Bristol, VA

Paralleling Pinecrest Lane, Interstate 381 curves southwest a half mile onto Commonwealth Avenue. 05/26/21

I-381 south at Commonwealth Av - Bristol, VA

I-381 concludes at the signalized intersection with Keys and Church Streets. Unsigned SR 381 lines Commonwealth Avenue south 0.63 miles to Euclid Avenue, where U.S. 11/11E/11W/19/421 come together. 05/26/21

SR 381 Commonwealth Avenue – North at I-381

Commonwealth Av north at I-381 - Bristol, VA

Commonwealth Avenue (SR 381) transitions into Interstate 381 at the third traffic light north of U.S. 11/19/421 at Euclid Avenue. 05/26/21

Commonwealth Av north at I-381 - Bristol, VA

The lone confirming marker for Interstate 381 marks the northbound beginning. 05/26/21

Commonwealth Av north at I-381 - Bristol, VA

An Interstate 81 trailblazer stands at the intersection joining Commonwealth Avenue (SR 381) with Church Street east and Keys Street west toward the Belle Meadows neighborhood. 05/26/21

I-381 South End Throwback

SR 381 north at I-381 - 2003

An end shield was formerly along Commonwealth Avenue north at Church Street and Interstate 381. 08/23/03

SR 381 north at I-381 - 2003

A previous shield for Interstate 381 north of Commonwealth Avenue in Bristol. 08/23/03

Sources:

  1. “Bristol Bypass Opens Monday.” The Progress-Index (Petersburg, VA), November 19, 1961.

Page updated July 6, 2021.