TROUTVILLE, Va. (WFXR) — The Troutville Rest Area — located on southbound I-81, near mile marker 158 in Botetourt County — is expected to reopen before Thanksgiving to support holiday travel.

According to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), the rest area has been closed since May, for work on a $4.9 million project to extend the ramps at the facility.

The project was first expected to be complete and reopened by Labor day. However, VDOT says its contractor Branch Civil Inc. has encountered challenges with a slope that affected the schedule.

A concrete barrier wall is currently in place in front of the rest area, and motorists are not able to enter the facility or use the parking lot and restrooms.

However, drivers traveling southbound on I-81 can still use the Fairfield Rest Area at mile marker 195 in Rockbridge County or the Radford Rest Area at mile marker 108 in Montgomery County. Portable toilets and toilets remain available temporarily for commercial vehicles at the Troutville Weigh Station on southbound I-81 at mile marker 149.

According to VDOT, the ramp extension is intended to improve safety by providing motorists more space to accelerate or decelerate.

The off-ramp, into the rest area, is being extended approximately 500 ft., and the ramp onto southbound I-81 is being extended about 2,100 ft. The project also includes expanding the truck parking area by 10-13 spaces.

The project is part of the I-81 Corridor Improvement Program, which was approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board in December of 2018. The package, worth more than $2 billion, is focused on improvements and was funded by the Virginia General Assembly and signed into law in the spring of 2019.

Additional information about the I-81 Corridor Improvement Program is available here. The website includes interactive maps and schedules about current and upcoming projects, designed to improve safety, increase reliability, and foster economic growth along the 325-mile I-81 corridor.