BRISTOL, Va. — The Virginia Department of Transportation established an online survey Thursday to gain feedback for its Interstate 81 frontage road study.

The agency is looking into the feasibility of connecting segments of existing roadways adjacent to the interstate between the Bristol city limits and the town of Abingdon, to give local traffic an alternative to short trips on the busy interstate.

The concept includes up to 12 small roadway projects to connect existing road segments between I-81’s Exit 7 at Bristol and Exit 22 in Abingdon.

The survey will be available through July 31.

This study is unrelated to last year’s corridor safety study that resulted in new fuel taxes to pay for improvements to parts of the interstate between Bristol and Winchester.

The 12-question survey asks about road use, preferences of proposed projects between Old Airport Road in Bristol and Enterprise Road in Abingdon, problems and concerns about traveling in the area, perceptions of traffic congestion and other potential improvements.

VDOT held two public information meetings this spring to review preliminary study findings, frontage road alignment options, intersection connections and provide comments about a frontage road system to enhance access between Bristol and Abingdon.

“We gained quite a bit of information from participants at the two public information meetings held earlier in the year, however, the survey will give us the opportunity to gain additional public feedback,” VDOT spokeswoman Michelle Earl said.

Much of the proposed frontage road would be on the south side, which features more residential development compared to the more commercially developed north side. The current proposal includes options on both sides of the interstate near more heavily developed Exits 14, 17 and 19.

“The information VDOT gathers will be used to assist with future project planning with the town of Abingdon, Washington County and the city of Bristol for [state] Smart Scale funding,” Earl said.

More information about the study and the survey is available by contacting Project Manager Blake Ailor, VDOT, 870 Bonham Road, Bristol, VA 24201. Comments may be sent to bristolinfo@vdot.virginia.gov and mention “I-81 Frontage Road Study Bristol/Abingdon” in the subject line.

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dmcgee@bristolnews.com | 276-645-2532 | Twitter: @DMcGeeBHC | Facebook.com/david.mcgee.127

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