NITRO, W.Va. — With federal funding secured and the construction bid awarded, Gov. Jim Justice and Deputy Commissioner of Highways Jimmy Wriston were excited to officially announce plans for a major construction project in the area of the Interstate-64 Nitro/St. Albans Bridge.
Justice and Wriston spoke in Nitro on Friday afternoon overlooking the heavily used bridge, detailing the $225 million project that could see construction start in the Spring of next year and includes building a bridge adjacent to the Nitro/St. Albans Bridge.
“It’s a much-needed project,” Wriston told MetroNews. “It’s going to make a big difference in this area and it’s just another part of the makeover on I-64.”
Plans included in the project, which was given $20 million by the U.S. Department of Transportation BUILD grant earlier this week, are to add 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.
The new bridge will carry traffic from traveling from Charleston to Huntington.
Nitro Mayor Dave Casebolt told MetroNews he is glad the work is being done to expand the bottleneck area. He also mentioned that the new bridge could bring more development to the 250 acres surrounding the land.
“This set of interstate right here between 4 and 6 p.m. I would say is the most dangerous part of the state,” he said. “We had 89 accidents just at Exit 45 in a one-year timeframe.
“This traffic flow has affected everybody. Not just the people of Nitro but people from St. Albans, Teays Valley, Charleston, anybody traveling this interstate in the evening hours has a major concern for traffic.”
The more than three-mile project, which is part of the state’s Roads to Prosperity program, will also replace three I-64 bridges including County Route 29, County Route 33/5, and WV State Route 25. The Country Route 44 Bridge and associated work off Route 44 will be included.
Brayman Construction and Trumbull Construction are tackling the work together. Wriston said it’s a design-build project which means the contractors will be responsible for designs as they go. Contractors will submit designs and ideas to the DOH and from there, Wriston said they will update citizens through the media on the phases of the work.
“It’s big construction, there’s a lot of traffic out here. There’s going to be some pain, there’s going to be some congestion, there’s going to be some delays,” Wriston said.
The completion date for the entire I-64 project is October 2023.
The completion date for the Danner Road Bridge project in Charleston on I-64 was around Thanksgiving. Wriston and Justice announced on Friday that the project is finished, which is 24 days ahead of schedule.
Wriston credited innovation, pushing items together and concurrent work between the state and contractors to complete the overhaul in 36 days.
“This is wildly successful,” he said. “The 60 days was aggressive. To hit this at two-thirds of the time we planned on an aggressive schedule is amazing. That’s just a great partner in this contract.”
Story by Jake Flatley