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Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is one of the region’s most popular destinations for friends and families looking for an affordable and easily accessible summer getaway. For motorists returning home from the sunny locale this summer, construction on I-77 North at border of Virginia and West Virginia is causing hours of gridlock traffic. AAA East Central is advising travelers to consider the roadwork when planning the return road trip, and follow a suggested alternative route – a 17-mile detour that adds 30 minutes to the trip, but could save hours of waiting in traffic.
“One of the things surely to accompany sunny skies and summer travel is construction,” says Bevi Powell, Senior Vice President, AAA East Central. “Having valuable information on major construction projects like this can keep travelers well informed and make road travel a little less stressful.”
Suggested Alternate Route (heading northbound):
- As you approach the merger of I-77 and I-81, take exit 32 to merge onto I-81 North toward Roanoke.
- 16.5 miles later, take exit 98 for VA-100 North toward Dublin/Pearisburg.
- Take Route 100 North for almost 25 miles (through Pearisburg).
- Keep left at the fork towards US 460 West.
- In 23 miles, turn right to re-enter I-77 North.
Close-up of AAA recommended detour to avoid congestion heading northbound on I-77 in Virginia and West Virginia.
According to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), an extensive paving project in West Virginia is the source of the construction – which starts at mile 1 on I-77 and continues for eight miles in both directions. While that may not seem out of the ordinary for summer roadway construction, the source of the headaches for northbound drivers begins farther south in Virginia at the East River Mountain Tunnel where traffic is being reduced to one lane.
Before setting out on your summer road trip, AAA recommends the following:
- Pack your patience – Summer is one of the busiest travel times of the year. Expect heavy crowds and allow plenty of time to get to your destination safely.
- Be flexible – If your schedule permits, avoid traveling during peak times this summer - including Independence Day - to encounter less congestion and fewer crowds.
- Safety first –Get plenty of rest before setting out on your road trip. Schedule breaks every two hours or 100 miles to remain alert and avoid driving drowsy.
- Fill up – According to a AAA survey, 24 million American drivers continue to drive after the low fuel warning light turns on. Not only can this increase your chances of being stranded in traffic waiting for roadside assistance, but it can do lasting damage to your vehicle’s fuel system.
- Make sure your vehicle is road trip ready – Take your vehicle to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out. Pack an emergency kit that includes a mobile phone and car charger, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a basic toolkit, and drinking water and snacks for all passengers.
- Work with a travel agent – Travel agents often have access to extra amenities and added benefits to help plan the perfect summer vacation. They can also be a tremendous help in the event something changes or goes wrong on your trip.
AAA East Central also recommends that travelers utilize a AAA TripTik when planning their summer trip. A staple for AAA members for decades, TripTiks give motorists the “lay of the land” – offering turn-by-turn directions to their destinations, as well as points along the way (hotels, restaurants, attractions, etc.) TripTiks can be obtained at any AAA branch office (AAA.com/branches), or online at TripTik.AAA.com.
AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 80 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia serving 2.7 million members. Past news releases are available at news.eastcentral.aaa.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
For More Information, Contact:
Jim Garrity, Public & Community Relations Manager
Desk: 412-365-7274 / Cell: 412-905-9021 / Email: Garrity.James@aaaec.com