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I-79 at Clendenin to see continued construction

CLENDENIN, W.Va. -- Commuters traveling Interstate 79 north of Charleston can expect to see several more months of construction.

"'Tis the season, brother," said West Virginia Department of Transportation spokesman Brent Walker.

Starting last winter, contractors began the lengthy process of replacing the superstructure and bridge decking on the northbound span of the McQueen Brothers Bridge just north of the Clendenin exit of I-79. Work crews on site Tuesday said the bridge is scheduled to reopen for traffic on June 15.

Replacement of the southbound span will then start.

"We'll tear that one out when we complete this one," Walker said. "We'll have about four months [of construction] on that one."

Meanwhile, paving crews are in the process of repaving a four-mile stretch of interstate just south of the Clendenin exit, between mile markers 15 and 19. Traffic going both directions has been reduced to one lane so road crews can mill off the old pavement. Crews also are installing trench drains that will be under the pavement when the road is resurfaced.

Walker said the drains are now standard when resurfacing roads. He said crews dig a long trench along the roadway and line it with fabric and rocks before paving over the drain.

"The water will make its way in there," he said.

Once the two lanes are repaved, work crews will mill and repave the remaining two lanes, Walker said.

"We should be doing that for about the next three months," he said. Both the bridge and repaving projects should be completed this fall.

The cost of the bridge replacement project is about $8.5 million, Walker said. Milling, adding the drains and repaving all four lanes of the interstate below Clendenin has a price tag of about $10.5 million.

Walker said an unusually mild winter and an early spring gave highways crews a head start on repair projects around the state.

"The weather so far has cooperated," he said. "We'll just keep our fingers crossed."

Reach Rusty Marks at rustymarks@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.


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