CLENDENIN, W.Va. -- There's good news for drivers traveling on Interstate 79 north of Charleston.State highways officials hope to have the area free of construction by the end of the year.Last winter, construction crews began replacing two bridges just north of the Clendenin exit. Work on the northbound span was finished in June, at which time crews began work to replace the southbound bridge.Brent Walker, spokesman for the state Division of Highways, said that work is nearly finished. Contractors have now completed putting on the new bridge decking, and have only some work underneath the bridge to finish.
Walker said the southbound bridge should reopen later this month. Southbound traffic has been diverted onto the northbound bridge during construction, reducing traffic to one lane in either direction. Replacement of the two spans cost $8.5 million.Meanwhile, another contractor has nearly completed a $10.5 million project to repave a 4 1/2-mile section of Interstate 79 between Elkview and Clendenin. Repaving all four lanes began in May.The contractor, West Virginia Paving, has finished paving all four lanes, but one southbound lane has been closed for more than a week while workers replace guardrails along the stretch of highway. Walker said the contract called for replacing only some of the guardrails, but West Virginia Paving decided to replace all the guardrails along the stretch of road.Once the southbound side is finished, one northbound lane will be closed to replace the guardrails on that side of the highway.Walker said all construction should be finished in the area by the middle of November. He said there is no construction work planned for Interstate 79 near Charleston in the near future."We'll be in good shape there for a while with the two new bridges and the new paving," Walker said. "We don't have anything planned in that area after this."Reach Rusty Marks at firstname.lastname@example.org