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Old 09-16-2013, 01:59 PM   #1
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Interstate 81 Southbound

We are working on a trek for next season and I am thinking about heading down via interstate 81 south from PA (Harrisburg) to TN (Bristol)and want to know how this route is from anyone who is familiar with this highway? I know it is a popular route for trucks, so I hoping that this will be fairly well maintained as a result. It's the best route for us based on my preferred stops and final destination, so hopefully the feedback is positive.
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Old 09-16-2013, 02:32 PM   #2
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We live right off of I81 in VA. We have traveled all the way up to PA and down to TN. For the most part 81 is in good condition except for PA as I'm sure you know. The traffic can be pretty thick at times and horrible right before the colleges start. The advantage of there being a lot of trucks is that most stops accommodate large rigs nicely. I don't mind traveling on I81. Just maintain a comfortable speed and keep your eyes open.
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Old 09-16-2013, 05:24 PM   #3
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We live off I-81 in PA and I regularly travel from Pottsville, PA through Roanoke, VA. I would disagree with jtaylor as to the current general condition of I-81 through PA....Hagerstown through Harrisburg has been completely resurfaced in several phases over the last few years and nearly every bridge has been widened and re-decked. Some parts are now 3 lanes wide. With the exception of on-going bridge re-construction in Harrisburg, PA and bridge re-construction and re-surfacing through the WVA panhandle...I-81 is in excellent travelling condition. It is popular with trucks 24-7 and it's almost exclusively 2-lane....that is a fact.

Recommendation - avoid Harrisburg during rush hour(s)
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Old 09-16-2013, 06:28 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies. I have been though Harrisburg a few times, but not in a few years. I will be trying to get through there before 3PM on the day I go out. I am taking 78 out then bypassing as much as I can to pick up 81 to Hagerstown KOA as my first stop for a night.

I have a few months to map it all out and tweak as needed.
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Old 09-16-2013, 06:50 PM   #5
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BTW - I took a drive through Williamsport (Hagerstown) Yogi Bear's Jellystone Campground and Resort just today....the pads were in great shape and larger than most KOAs....I'll tag on a link later.

http://www.jellystonemaryland.com/

Happy Camping
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Old 09-17-2013, 06:54 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Threebutchers View Post
We live off I-81 in PA and I regularly travel from Pottsville, PA through Roanoke, VA. I would disagree with jtaylor as to the current general condition of I-81 through PA....Hagerstown through Harrisburg has been completely resurfaced in several phases over the last few years and nearly every bridge has been widened and re-decked. Some parts are now 3 lanes wide. With the exception of on-going bridge re-construction in Harrisburg, PA and bridge re-construction and re-surfacing through the WVA panhandle...I-81 is in excellent travelling condition. It is popular with trucks 24-7 and it's almost exclusively 2-lane....that is a fact...
Below is a picture of the construction area at the I-81/US-22/US322 interchange east of Harrisburg as I was traveling east on I-81 on July 11th. Back on May 9th, a tanker truck overturned and caught fire on one of the interchange's ramps resulting in severely damaging the ramps and one of them had to be replaced. The video was shot in the same direction as I was traveling, but they were on an overhead ramp crossing I-81.

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Name:	I-81-US-22-322 construction.jpg
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Old 09-17-2013, 09:47 AM   #7
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if your heading out I-84 from NY it was not in good shape that road needs to be resurfaced not just patched. We headed that way in July
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Old 09-18-2013, 03:29 AM   #8
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I live in the Shenandoah Valley just a few miles from I-81, and travel from Winchester to Staunton on 81 frequently. The road is in very good shape, and if you can stand the trucks, it's a good road to travel. As said before, the rest stops easily accommodate large rigs.
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Old 09-18-2013, 06:09 AM   #9
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I don't mind the large rigs, as I fit right in and feel at ease moving with them since most of them abide by the common rules of highway driving and use proper signals. My main concern was the condition of the road through that region.

Are there many tolls on the route? If so do they take EZ pass?

Thanks again for all the replies to all!
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Old 09-19-2013, 03:32 AM   #10
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There are no tolls on I-81 in Virginia.
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Old 09-19-2013, 05:26 AM   #11
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You will find a couple of areas in VA with long grade hills in the Roanoke and Marion areas. Both have slow traffic lanes going up and coming down on the other side you are on your own...

We make the trip to the Smoky Mtns using I81 on a regular basis...

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Old 09-19-2013, 06:29 AM   #12
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There are no tolls on I-81 in PA or MD either. If you're taking the PA Turnpike to reach I-81, they take E-ZPass. Below are the Carlisle toll booths if you get off the turnpike at Exit 226, Carlisle, to connect with I-81.

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After exiting the toll booths, you need to be in the left lane and exit onto US-11 north, Harrisburg, to reach the I-81 interchange.

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Once on US-11 north, it's about a mile between the turnpike and I-81 interchange. There are truck stops/filling stations/restaurants/etc. along this stretch. If you have the need for any of these services, it's a good place time to stop as many of them are "big rig" friendly. The entrance ramp for I-81 south, Chambersburg, will be on your right and look like this:

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Name:	##I-81 Entrance Ramp.jpg
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Old 09-19-2013, 07:00 AM   #13
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Thanks to all for the replies and detailed info.
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