BECKLEY, W.Va. — State Parkways Authority Greg Barr says there’s more than enough room to add two additional lanes on the West Virginia Turnpike in Beckley between the Route 19 interchange and I-64/I-77 split.
The room comes from the existing median, Barr said.
“There’s a grassy median between the north and southbound lanes so we’re expanding to the inside,” Barr said. “We’re going to utilize the median for the expansion.”
There will eventually be a median wall constructed between the expanded lanes, Barr said.
Contractors have been working in recent months to get the existing bridges on the eight-mile stretch ready for the additional lanes of traffic. Piers are being built for eight new bridges.
“A lot has gone on off the road that people don’t really see,” Barr said.
At the conclusion of the project, there be at least three lanes in both directions and in some areas four lanes for truck climbing and merge lanes.
Barr said the section is arguably the busiest on the 88-mile toll road.
“What we were seeing was a lot of weaving around slower traffic. When you grade traffic A-through-F with A being the smoothest flowing, at certain times during the weekends and holidays it was getting to be an F,” Barr said.
The contract was awarded nearly a year ago, August 2018, to Triton Construction, of St. Albans, which submitted a winning bid of $105,675,400.
It’s one of the first projects being funded with bond money from the Roads to Prosperity program. The timeline for the project was set at 3.5 years, according to Barr.
“We’re looking at August 2021 or Spring of 2022 to get it done,” he said.