Construction Starts at the Intersection of I-581 and Elm Ave. in Roanoke

Roanoke, VA - It's been years in the planning, and now construction is about to begin on one of Roanoke's busiest intersections.

Construction is beginning Tuesday night at the intersection of Elm Avenue and I-581 in downtown Roanoke.

VDOT says to keep in mind is that there are going to be noticeable traffic pattern changes on both Elm Avenue and 581, the longest phase of the project. Construction could take up to a year to complete, VDOT says.

Like many Roanoke drivers, Nikki Fuhrey sums up the construction.

"It's very time consuming as well. It takes anywhere from about 30 [minutes] to an hour to get back and forth through it. So it kind of sucks when you are trying to get somewhere fast. You have to leave a half hour early, just to get where you want to go," Fuhrey said.

"In the past, there are traffic delays. There are traffic backups on the bridge. Folks [are] blocking intersections. So hopefully by the time this project is complete, those types of problems will be eliminated," said VDOT Spokesperson Jamie Smith.

VDOT says the biggest changes over the next few days include traffic being consolidated to half the bridge over the interstate, while construction gets underway on the other half.

Interstate 581 will also be reduced to single lanes. VDOT says to stay alert.

"It's going to get busy. There's going to be the same amount of traffic traveling through. There's going to be folks working behind barricades. So just be alert and know there are going to be some changes in that area," Smith said.

"I don't see anything good in it until it's finally finished. But it's just what it is," Fuhrey said.

VDOT wants to stress to you that now might be a good time to use their website for real-time traffic information.

You can get to it by clicking here.

The project is expected to take until the summer of 2015 to complete.