Key Companies in I81-I77 Crossroads

Turman Hardwood Flooring, Galax

Turman Hardwood Flooring, Galax

Regional Highlights

The I81-I77 Crossroads region is at the intersection of two major interstate highways, allowing companies quick access to national markets. Composed of six counties (Bland, Carroll, Grayson, Smyth, Washington, and Wythe) and two cities (Bristol and Galax) with a total population of nearly 200,000, much of the area lies in picturesque valleys bordered by the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountain ranges.

Its diverse manufacturing base includes snack foods and Gatorade, precision parts for the world’s leading automakers, and high-tech companies in the plastics, furniture, distribution, and defense industries. Internationally recognized companies such as General Dynamics, Pepsi, and Utility Trailer call the region home, thanks to its strategic location, trained workforce, and quality of life.


Interstates 81 and 77 intersect in Wythe County in southwestern Virginia, and one of the leading trucking routes in the eastern U.S. traverses this region bordered by Tennessee to the west, North Carolina to the south, and West Virginia to the north.

I-81 I-77 Crossroads
American Merchant Inc., Bristol

American Merchant Inc., Bristol

  • I-81 is the longest interstate in Virginia and rated one of the top eight truck routes in the U.S.
  • I-77 connects the eastern Great Lakes region with Appalachia and the Southeast.
  • The region also offers access to I26 (16 miles), I64 (31 miles), and I40 (37 miles), as well as four-lane highway systems, including U.S. 460, U.S. 58, and U.S. 23, stretching from Virginia to Detroit.
  • Freight rail service is provided by Norfolk Southern, offering a wide range of reliable and efficient shipping options.
  • The Virginia TradePort, located at the New River Valley Airport in Dublin, is approximately 32 miles north.
  • Three airports in the region provide general aviation services, and a few major airports with international connections are a short drive away, including Tri-Cities Regional Airport (TRI – 21 miles).
Speyside Bourbon Cooperage Glade Spring Stave Mill, Washington County

Speyside Bourbon Cooperage Glade Spring Stave Mill, Washington County

Three Virginia Locations Serve Speyside Bourbon Cooperage

Wood products represent the 3rd-largest manufacturing industry in Virginia and a rich, centuries-old legacy. Thanks to this abundant supply of raw materials, it comes as no surprise that the Commonwealth is a natural landing point for companies in this sector. As Speyside considered locations in Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania for its newest cooperage and stave mill, accessibility to white oak for bourbon barrel production was a key focus. Fortunately, Virginia’s 16 million acres of forestland (Virginia Department of Forestry, 2017) would allow the stave mill to procure approximately 80% of its white oak logs from Virginia growers.

A Skilled & Ready Workforce

A high percentage of the I81-I77 Crossroads regional workforce is trained for advanced manufacturing, food processing, forest products, or information technology, and nearly 1/3 of the population has an average commute time of less than 15 minutes.

Talent Development & Education in the Region

Two community colleges, several four-year institutions, and the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon, offering more than 200 graduate and undergraduate degree programs from nine Virginia colleges and universities, ensure a steady and skilled talent pool.

Virginia’s state and local governments are committed to a climate where businesses can thrive, and the quality of Virginia’s workforce is a tremendous advantage to any employer.

Todd Shail Senior Vice President of Manufacturing at Mohawk Industries

Living in I81-I77 Crossroads

Designated the “Birthplace of Country Music,” musical heritage is vitally important to the region. Bristol’s Birthplace of Country Music Museum is a stop on the “Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail,” and more than 40,000 visitors flock to the internationally known Old Fiddler’s Convention in Galax annually.

Excellent health and wellness services, including a major medical complex and teaching hospital in Bristol and a comprehensive cancer treatment center in Abingdon, are available to residents of the area. Considered the hottest ticket in NASCAR, the Bristol Motor Speedway, renowned as the World’s Fastest Half Mile, is another one of the area’s premier attractions.

The region is home to portions of the Jefferson National Forest and the Appalachian Trail, and close to the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountain ranges. The Virginia Creeper Trail, a 34-mile rail-trail running between Abingdon and Whitetop, has been described as the best mountain-bike trail in the East. The New River also flows through much of the upper region, and outdoor adventures include hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, kayaking, camping, horseback riding, bird watching, hunting, fishing, golfing, and cross-country skiing.


Mount Rogers, Smyth County

Main Street, Bristol

Main Street, Bristol


Virginia Creeper Trail, Abingdon