WASHINGTON, D.C. — A major construction project on Interstate 64 in Kanawha and Putnam counties is picking up some key federal funding.
U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin announced Wednesday the Nitro Interstate 64 bridge and widening project has been chosen for a U.S. Department of Transportation BUILD grant in the amount of $20 million.
“Commuters along I-64 know how congested the Nitro-St. Albans bridge section is every morning and evening. Modern surface transportation infrastructure is essential to our state’s economy and the safety of our communities,” Capito said in a news release.. “As chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, I have worked with the West Virginia Division of Highways to prioritize projects important to our state, and I wrote to Secretary (Elaine) Chao in July to highlight the importance of this project.”
Manchin said he spoke to Chao last week about the BUILD grants.
“I also sent a letter to DOT in July of this year advocating for this BUILD Grant. Last year was the first time since 2014 that we received a BUILD Grant, and today I am proud to announce another $20 million from DOT to widen I-64 to addresses the rural transportation challenges we face in West Virginia. This project will also expand tourism and create more economic development for our state by connecting our two most populous cities, creating a corridor of growth along I-64. I look forward to continuing to work with DOT Secretary Chao in the future for programs that benefit West Virginia,” Manchin said in a Wednesday statement.
Plans are to add lanes of traffic eastbound and westbound from the Nitro exit, across the Kanawha River west into Putnam County not far from the Scott Depot exit. The three-mile project, which includes an additional large bridge, is part of the state’s Roads to Prosperity program.
The project went out to bid last month and Pennsylvania-based companies Brayman Construction and Trumbull Construction submitted a joint bid totaling $224.4 million. Indications are the state is close to awarding the bid. The federal money, announced Wednesday, would represent nearly 10 percent of the total projected cost of the project.
The Nitro-St. Albans area of Interstate 64 is the last remaining bottleneck on I-64 between Charleston at Teays Valley.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s BUILD grants stands for Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development.