Interstate 581 Virginia

History
North End
South End

Overview

Interstate 581 is a spur leading south from I-81 to Roanokeā€“Blacksburg Regional Airport (ROA) and the independent city of Roanoke. The urban freeway is cosigned with U.S. 220 as part of its route between Martinsville and Covington. I-581 is also incorporated in the Future Interstate 73 corridor through Virginia.

Exit numbers along Interstate 581 utilize cardinal direction based suffixes. Interchange numbers increase from north to south, contrary to standard Interstate numbering.

History

Interstate 581 opened initially from Interstate 81 south to Virginia 117 in November 1964, and south to U.S. 11A & 460 and Virginia 116 by September 1965. Completion of the route southward to Virginia 24 occurred by October 1967.1

Virginia’s second diverging diamond interchange is the Valley View Interchange along Interstate 581 & U.S. 220 at Exit 3C. The DDI replaced a partial exit built in 1999. Benefiting holiday shoppers bound for adjacent Valley View Mall, it opened to traffic following a ribbon cutting ceremony held on November 21, 2016.2 Design-build contracts for the $63.9 million project were awarded in March 2013, with road work starting in summer 2014.3

Route Information

  • North End – Roanoke, VA

  • South End – Roanoke, VA

  • Mileage – 6.64

  • Cities – Roanoke

  • JunctionsI-81

Source: December 31, 2017 Interstate Route Log and Finders List

I-581 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)

Location Vehicles per day
SR 24 to US 11 73,000
US 11 to US 460 84,000
US 460 to Valley View Bl 84,000
Valley View Bl to SR 101 67,000
SR 101 to SR 117 62,000
SR 117 to I-81 51,000

Interstate 581 under construction from I-81 southeast to U.S. 460 (Orange Avenue) – 1963 Virginia Official Highway Map
The southernmost section of I-581 under construction in 1967. Subsequent freeway segments built south were only designated as new alignments of U.S. 220.

Highway Guides

North End I-81 US 220 – north of Roanoke, Virginia

Perspective from Interstate 581 & U.S. 220 north
See Virginia @ AARoads – Interstate 581 for photos from this direction.
Perspective from Interstate 81 north
See Virginia @ AARoads – Interstate 81 North – Montgomery & Roanoke Counties for coverage.
Perspective from Interstate 81 & U.S. 220 south
Interstate 81 & U.S. 220 parallel the south slopes of Green Ridge to the directional T interchange (Exit 143) with Interstate 581 south. Photo taken 08/06/13.
U.S. 220 turns south along side I-581 through Roanoke as it concludes a 6.45 mile overlap with Interstate 81 south at Exit 143. The US highway historically combined with U.S. 11 south from Hollins to Downtown. Photo taken 08/06/13.

South End US 220 Virginia 24 – Roanoke, Virginia

Perspective from Interstate 581 & U.S. 220 south
Interstate 581 & U.S. 220 elevate along a viaduct over Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks on the 0.75 mile approach to Virginia 24 (Elm Avenue). Virginia 24 ends just west of Exit 6 at Virginia 116 (Williamson Road). Photo taken 08/06/13.
An end shield for I-581 stands below the forthcoming Elm Avenue overpass. U.S. 220 extends the freeway south from the diamond interchange (Exit 6) with Virginia 24 to South Roanoke and Cave Spring. SR 24 leads east from Downtown Roanoke to the town of Vinton. Photo taken 08/06/13.
Perspective from Interstate 581 & U.S. 220 north
See Virginia @ AARoads – Interstate 581 for photos from this perspective.

Sources:

  1. I-81 and branches (VAHighways).
  2. “Valley View Interchange project to finish in time for Black Friday.” WDBJ (Roanoke, VA), November 16, 2016.
  3. Interstate 581 and Valley View Interchange Improvements. http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/salem/valley_view_interchange.asp VDOT project web site, accessed November 28, 2016.

Page updated November 30, 2016.