WHEELING, WV (LOOTPRESS)– One of the most significant projects in Gov. Jim Justice’s Roads to Prosperity program is coming to the finish line.
Motorists using Interstate 70 in the Wheeling area should expect to see orange barrels begin to disappear as work on the $215 million I-70 Bridges Project comes to a close.
Minor work still needs to be completed on the project including painting and concrete repairs which will occur below the bridges. Once the project is completely finished, Gov. Justice and DOT leadership will hold a public ribbon-cutting ceremony to commemorate the completion.
“Any traffic impacts will be short-term,” Tony Clark, P.E., West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH) District Engineer for District 6 said. “We may have a lane closure pop up here or there for concrete coating work or something else up on top. That would only be a day or part of a day, not long term.”
In total, 26 bridges on the busy I-70 from the Ohio River to Elm Grove Exit 5 were either replaced or rehabbed. Entrance and exit ramps along the interstate were also replaced and rehabbed.
Major bridge work undertaken in the project included repairs, a deck overlay and painting of the Fort Henry Bridge; repairs, deck overlay and painting of the Main Street Bridge; completely new decks for the eastbound and westbound East Tunnel Bridge; complete demolition and replacement of the eastbound and westbound Fulton Bridge and deck overlays or replacements on four bridges in the Elm Grove area.
In August 2019, Gov. Justice announced that the contract for the project had been awarded to Swank Construction Company and the work began shortly afterward.
The project included complete closures of I-70 in both directions as crews worked on the Fulton Bridge, which is east of the Wheeling Tunnel. In 2020, the westbound lanes from Exit 1B, the U.S. 250/W.Va. Rt. 2-16th Street exit, to Exit 2A, the Oglebay Park exit were closed. In 2021, the eastbound lanes in the same area were closed. I-470 was used as the primary detour.
The I-70 corridor was constructed in the 1950s.The West Virginia Department of Transportation initiated the study of the I-70 corridor in 2017 to understand the current bridge conditions and necessary repairs from the Ohio State Line to the Pennsylvania State Line, concluding that major repairs were necessary to keep the corridor functional.