Work to widen I-64 in Huntington begins - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Work to widen I-64 in Huntington begins

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By JAMES E. CASTO

For The State Journal

HUNTINGTON – After a string of delays, work finally has started on an $18 million project to widen about four miles of Interstate 64 in Huntington. When completed next year, the result will be a six-lane section of freeway between the 29th Street and Hal Greer Boulevard exits (exits 15 and 11), with three lanes in each direction separated by a concrete barrier.

The project had been scheduled to begin March 11, but bad weather prompted a series of delays, with work finally beginning April 8. The West Virginia Division of Highways still hopes the project can be done by the original deadline of Sept. 28, 2014.

The sections of roadway being widened will connect with three overpasses that were widened from two lanes to three a few years ago.

The bulk of the work is to be done at night, with the contractor required to maintain two lanes of traffic at all times between 5 a.m. and 7.p.m. The DOH hopes that will minimize congestion in the construction zone, which has been posted with a 50-mph speed limit.

While the current work is in progress, the state is also spending $5.4 million to replace two bridges at the base of I-64's Hal Greer interchange. They are located at the eastbound off ramp and westbound on ramp.

The current work is part of the state's long-term highway planning that calls for a six-lane I-64 all the way from milepost 6 in West Huntington to Charleston. Some sections of the six-lane roadway already have been constructed, but at the current pace of construction it's estimated that it will take 30 years – and more than $325 million – to complete the widening of about 30 miles of road.