I-64 construction ramps up in Putnam, Cabell
HURRICANE — Work continues as a “huge construction season” progresses on a 14-mile stretch of road between Milton and Teays Valley, according to West Virginia Secretary of Transportation Tom Smith.
Construction on Interstate 64 officially kicked off on April 9. The first phase of the project will reach just past the Hurricane, West Virginia, exit.
The nearly $50 million project, contracted to West Virginia Paving, will completely tear the road down to its base and install a new overlay that Smith said will create a smooth ride that will last longer than resurfacing.
The construction project has closed one lane of traffic. The West Virginia Department of Transportation is promoting a counter-intuitive approach called zipper merging to help keep traffic flowing. Instead of merging into one lane well ahead of the lane closure, like is typically done, zipper merging utilizes both lanes until the closure, requiring vehicles to merge together in an alternating fashion.
Contraflow lanes, where a lane is diverted to the other side of the interstate, will also be used, but not until the second phase later in the summer.
Eventually, construction will be done 24 hours a day in an effort to get the project done by the end of the year.
The project is the first of 60 projects planned around the state this summer, Smith said. Other projects will take place on Interstates 77 and 79, among other highways.
The project is paid for by GARVEE bonds and is part of the Roads to Prosperity program, which voters approved in October. The first general obligation bond sale of $800 million will go out in May. The $1.6 billion total in general obligation bonds will fund major highway projects including a new 1-64 bridge between the Nitro and St. Albans exits and the widening of 1-64.
As the Road to Prosperity program gets moving. Smith said the department will continue to share information on projects across the state. A Face-book page will be set up so drivers can follow along with this first project.
“We intend to deliver this program the right way,” Smith said.