DOH: “I-64 Makeover” set to start

BARBOURSVILLE, W.Va. — It’s being called the ‘I-64 Makeover’ and it’s going to include several major construction projects over the next three-plus years. The first is set to start Wednesday.

Traffic control orange cones and barrels will be put into place on a three-mile section of I-64 in Cabell County from just east of the Huntington Mall in Barboursville to the Merritt’s Creek exit. The project will include expanding that stretch of interstate to three lanes in each direction. The project includes the rebuild of five sets of bridges.

State Division of Highways District 2 Engineer Scott Epling said the goal is to use the winter months to get a lot of prep work done so the project can hit full stride when the weather warms next year. The completion date is Fall 2022.

“It is a three-year project. There will be different phases. In planning this work, we felt it was important to have at least two lanes open at all times,” Epling said during a Tuesday afternoon news conference. “There could be some minimal delays during nighttime work.”

Epling added they want to get motorists used to the traffic flow changes before the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.

“In this area it can get really congested,” he said.

State Assistant Highways Commissioner Jimmy Wriston said the widening project is just one of several planned for the I-64 corridor between Huntington and Charleston, the “I-64 Makeover.”

“We’re going to take care of this interstate. We’re going to take care of this corridor,” Wriston said.

Other projects include several paving projects and the $224 million project to add an interstate bridge and east and westbound lanes near the Nitro and St. Albans exits. Awarding the bid on that project could happen later this week.

Wriston said it’s important to remember to slow down in the work zones.

“Lay those cell phones done. Don’t be a distracted driver and obey the speed limit,” Wriston said. “If you’re focused you’ll be fine and it wont’ cost you that much time.”

Both the Merritt’s Creek and Nitro bridge projects are part of the multi-billion dollar Roads to Prosperity program first proposed by Gov. Jim Justice not long after taking office in early 2017. Voters approved the selling of bonds in an October 2017 election. Another bond sale is scheduled for later this year.

Wriston also said Tuesday work continues to secondary roads across the Mountain State.

“I know everybody here drives on secondary roads because that’s where you live. We’ve focused on those and we’re going to take care of those too,” Wriston said.

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