CHARLESTON, W.Va.¬†—¬†Foundations are in place and contractors are beginning to install high mast towers along the interstate system in Charleston, part of a $21 million lighting project.

The first of 106 towers to be installed are going in along Interstate 64 between South Charleston and Charleston.

“There could be some lane closures as they put these high mast structures up,” state Division of Highways spokesman Brent Walker said.

The 106 towers will have 401 lights.

“It’s going to be much more efficient, much brighter and as a result much, much safer,” Walker said.

Work on the initial section began last fall between the I-64 Kanawha Turnpike exit in South Charleston and the Westmoreland exit along I-77 north in Charleston. That section will result in the construction of 42 new light towers at a cost of $8.2 million.

According to the DOH, the second section will go from the Yeager Bridge along I-64/I-77 to the Westmoreland exit. That work will include 49 new light towers at a projected cost of $8.4 million.

The final section will be from the Westmoreland exit to the I-77/I-79 split just north of Charleston. That will be 15 new light towers at a projected cost of $4.7 million.

There hasn’t been a major change in the lighting since the interstate opened more than 40 years ago.

“We were fortunate enough to see this project through and we’re excited,” Walker said. “We’ll be doing that throughout the summer and into the early fall.”

Federal funding is helping to pay for the work.

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