Leaders from the West Virginia Division of Highways, including Deputy Commissioner of Highways Jimmy Wriston, P.E., hosted members of the media today for a press conference to preview the upcoming interstate widening project between the Merritts Creek and Huntington Mall exits on I-64 in Barboursville.
“We’re ready to get started on another wonderful Roads to Prosperity project, made possible by the big, bold vision of Governor Jim Justice,” Wriston said.
Road crews will be putting up orange construction barrels in the area beginning tomorrow – Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2019 – signifying the start of preparation work for the project.
This major project is expected to take approximately three years to complete.
“It’s going to take a little while, but this makeover of this section of I-64 is very important,” Wriston said. “It’s very important for us to get some more capacity on this interstate. This is the corridor that connects two of our major cities: Huntington and Charleston. We need a modern, efficient highway to move people and goods through West Virginia and this is the kind of project that gets it done.”
The $71 million project involves doubling the capacity of I-64, between the Barboursville/Merritts Creek (Exit 18) and the Huntington Mall (Exit 20) exits, from four lanes to eight lanes.
The project also calls for the removal and replacement of five sets of overpass bridges along this 2.9-mile stretch of I-64.
Work will also include expanding the entrance to the mall on East Mall Road in order to handle more capacity and alleviate congestion that has become common in the area.
“We get about 55,000 vehicles per day in the area,” Wriston said. “It’s significant traffic – what you would expect – it’s a heavily-traveled area. That’s why this is a much-needed project. It’s going to add capacity, it’s going to give us a safe, modern highway that West Virginia can grow from.”
Crews plan to keep at least two lanes of traffic open at all times throughout the duration of the project, with any lane closures occurring at night.
With the high volume of traffic, WVDOH leaders are also taking steps to make sure the work zone for this project is as safe as possible, including adding additional signage and reducing speed limits.
“The last thing that I want to do is be out here talking about an incident in this work zone,” Wriston said. “Even if we’re saving just one life, everything that we do that’s above and beyond will be worth it if we keep the incidents from happening.
“It really boils down to two things: distracted driving and speeding. So, obey the signs, put the cell phones down, drive, focus, and pay attention.”
Completion on the project is currently scheduled for October 2022.