NITRO, W.Va. — Traffic flow on busy Interstate 64 through the Kanawha Valley can now get back to normal with the reopening of the eastbound lanes of the bridge between the St. Albans and Nitro exits.
The state Division of Highways reopened the eastbound lanes Saturday morning at around 7 o’clock following strength testing of new concrete that poured Friday evening that filled a hole in the span that was discovered Thursday after an expansion joint failed. Crews had to build a form under the bridge deck in order to pour the concrete.
State Bridge Engineer Tracy Brown said to get the repair job done in less than 48 hours is an amazing accomplishment.
“Our bridge crew worked around the clock, in some difficult weather conditions, to make these repairs, and I could not be more proud of their work,” Brown said in a DOH news release.
State Transportation Secretary Byrd White also praised the work accomplished by DOH crews and others calling it a total team effort.
“The job our transportation team did, with the assistance from our law enforcement and contractor partners, to complete these repairs in this short amount of time cannot be overstated,” White said. “While most people will never fully appreciate the challenges our folks faced, I do. Their commitment to getting the job done is a testament to the type of professionals we have at the West Virginia Division of Highways.”
The reopening relieves an eastbound backlog of traffic that began in Putnam County. Many motorists deciding to take U.S. Route 60 to get around the bridge but other routes saw an increase of traffic too including state Route 62.
Work at the bridge site is part of an upcoming state Roads to Prosperity project. A $225 million project is scheduled to get started this spring. Plans are to build a second bridge in the area resulting in three 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.