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Interstate 81 (abbreviated I-81) is an Interstate Highway in the eastern part of the United Statesmarker. Its southern terminus is at Interstate 40 in Dandridge, Tennesseemarker; its northern terminus is on Wellesley Island (near Fishers Landing, New Yorkmarker) at the Canadian border, where the Thousand Islands Bridgemarker connects it to Highway 401, the main freeway connecting Windsormarker-Detroitmarker and Torontomarker to Montrealmarker.

Interstate 81 largely traces the path of the Appalachian Mountainsmarker, often paralleling its older U.S. highway counterpart, U.S. Route 11. While mostly rural, it is heavily used as a trucking corridor, often as a bypass of the busier Interstate 95 to the east.

The Interstate 81 Corridor Coalition, a six-state coalition, was organized to handle issues along Interstate 81, such as truck traffic and air pollution. As of October 15, 2008, this commission has met twice.

Route description

Tennessee and Virginia

Main articles: Interstate 81 in: Tennessee | Virginia
Interstate 81 begins in Tennessee at Interstate 40 in Dandridgemarker.The route parallels the Appalachian Mountains for much of its route through Tennessee and Virginia, serving such cities as Roanokemarker, Blacksburgmarker, Lexingtonmarker, Stauntonmarker, Harrisonburgmarker, and Winchestermarker.In Harrisonburg, I-81 cuts through James Madison Universitymarker.It parallels its older counterpart, U.S.Route 11, for its entire length in Virginia.

In July 2009 due to bugetary constraints the state of Virginia closed 7 rest stops along I-81 in rural Virginia.

West Virginia and Maryland

Main articles: Interstate 81 in: West Virginia | Maryland
Interstate 81 briefly enters the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, serving the city of Martinsburgmarker.It then traverses the state of Maryland at one of its narrowest points, passing through the "Hub City" of Hagerstownmarker where it intersects with a large number of other routes.


Interstate 81 forms a major north-south corridor through the state of Pennsylvania, serving the boroughs of Chambersburgmarker and Carlislemarker, where it meets the Pennsylvania Turnpike but does not interchange with it.Around the state capital of Harrisburgmarker, the route forms the northeastern section of Pennsylvania's Capital Beltway.The route then travels northeast towards the Wyoming Valley, where it serves the cities of Wilkes-Barremarker and Scrantonmarker, then heads north through the Endless Mountains region towards the state line.Although it is signed as a North-South highway, it is distinctly Northeast-Southwest and occasionally east-west throughout the state.

New York

Interstate 81 enters the state of New York near Binghamtonmarker.It parallels U.S.Route 11 in a north-south direction, serving the cities of Syracusemarker (where it intersects the New York State Thruway), and Watertownmarker.The route ends at the Canadian border at the Thousand Islands Bridgemarker, where it crosses the St. Lawrence Rivermarker, continuing as Highway 137.

Major intersections

Auxiliary routes

There are three current child routes either providing access to, or bypassing, various cities along the Interstate 81 route.





  1. I-81 Safety Conference
  2. I-81 Corridor group

External links

TN 75 121
VA 323 520
WV 23 37
MD 11 18
PA 234 377
NY 183 294

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