Hobet Highway bids delayed for 2 weeks

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Division of Highways has postponed design-build bid opening for the Hobet highway project until Nov. 1. The bids were originally scheduled to be opened Tuesday.

The two-week extension will allow for additional design work, according to DOH spokesman Brent Walker.

The 2.6 mile four-lane highway will take traffic from the U.S. Route 119-Route 3 intersection in Boone County up to the former Hobet mountaintop removal mining site which Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and others hope will be a major industrial area for the state.

State Senator Bob Plymale (D-Wayne) criticized the rapid rise of the project on the state’s priority list during legislative interim committees in June.

“It baffles me how we can talk about building a road that wasn’t even on the list, not even discussed at all in your six-year plan, and now all of the sudden it magically appears on it and I think it’s a stretch saying it’s in the federal highway system,” Plymale said.

But state Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox told Plymale the projected $100 million project was approved by the Federal Highway Administration to be part of the federal highway system, making it eligible for federal funds, because it will connect with U.S. Route 119, Corridor G.

State Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette previously said putting the road project out to bid will let potential developers know the state isn’t bluffing about the flat property at Hobet that is the size of Huntington.

“When they let a contract for that road we’ll be able to talk to prospects pretty seriously,” Burdette predicted.

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