BECKLEY, W.Va. — A significant phase of the governor’s Roads to Prosperity project has been completed along Interstate 77 in southern West Virginia.

The West Virginia Department of Transportation announced that paving in the area between Beckley and Bluefield is finished in the southbound lanes.  Cones blocking one lane for commuters during construction were removed during the weekend, giving drivers full access to both southbound lanes between Exits 1 and 9.  David Harper, Acting District Manager for District 10, told MetroNews affiliate WJLS the next phase is scheduled to begin in early spring.

“We’re, right now, looking at roughly around the beginning of April, and of course that depends on how long winter wants to hang on, and how much rain we have for the spring, coming out of the winter, ” said Harper.

During northbound construction, commercial trucks were required to take a mandatory detour at Exit 1.  Then, during southbound work, the Division of Highways constructed a barrier wall along I-77 South at Exit 9, to guide traffic along an alternate detour.  Harper said that barrier wall, which created a lane restriction, will be removed before November 26th.

“With that (barrier) wall out of the way, traffic will resume as normal on the southbound side,” he said, noting that the change should bring some relief for commuters who have had to deal with daily congestion since the work began several months ago.

Harper estimated that all paving in the next phase of work on I-77 should be completed by Memorial Day weekend in 2019, weather permitting.