UPDATE: I-77 Northbound lanes will close again Tuesday - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

WVDOT Reopens fast lane of I-77 near Princeton

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I-77 detour takes northbound travelers onto US 52 and US 460 again on Tuesday. I-77 detour takes northbound travelers onto US 52 and US 460 again on Tuesday.
BLUEFIELD -

UPDATE:

At 2:40 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 17 officials with the West Virginia Department of Transportation announced that they would be reopening the fast lane of Interstate-77 between Exit 1 and Exit 9. 

The contractor that was working on the hillside above Mile Marker 3 has reportedly finished their job and declared that the hillside is stable.   The Department of Transportation said that the slow lane between Mile Marker 3 and 3.5 will remain closed, while Division of Highways' crews continue to remove debris from the hillside and the shoulder of the road.

The WVDOH hopes to have both lanes open again in time for the weekend to accommodate holiday travelers.

As of 5 p.m. Monday, the left lane of I-77 Northbound around mile marker 3 in Bluefield was opened after being closed all day.

Division of Highways Manager Tom Camden said I-77 Northbound will close again Tuesday morning while crews get back to work clearing loose rocks.

Crews are back on the mountain after a controlled blast on Friday in an effort to stop rock slides in the area.  They're using ropes and pry bars to get rid of loose rocks that didn't come down last week. We talked to division of highways manager Tom Camden who said they wanted to take a proactive approach and go back to the hillside to double and triple check.

"Unfortunately I don't think it removed as much material as they thought so now a lot of the work has to be done by hand and needless to say that's very dangerous and cant be rushed," said Camden.

Camden said work like this is not only dangerous for the men rappelling off the mountain side, but while they're working, rocks of any size can come tumbling into the road.

"That's the reason we closed the Northbound lane we did not want to take the chance of some of those rocks coming down and doing harm to anyone," said Camden.

During the closure on I-77, traffic was re-routed to Route 52 and then 460 before merging back onto the interstate at exit 9.