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This holiday season, motorists traveling between Charleston and Huntington can expect to see work on the Roads To Prosperity project on the I-64 Nitro/St. Albans bridge (Donald M. Legg Memorial Bridge).

Crews with design-build contractor Brayman-Trumbull began Dec. 21-23 clearing vegetation in preparation for future work, installing erosion and sediment control measures, and creating access points to future work areas. The majority of this work will be behind I-64 guardrails, creating minimal impacts to traffic, but drivers should be aware of people working in the area. The work will continue Dec. 28-30.

“This project is much needed, but we would not have had the funding to begin work now without Governor Justice’s Roads To Prosperity program,” said Jimmy Wriston, Deputy Secretary of Transportation, in a release. “The project will alleviate the bottleneck in traffic that often occurs on that bridge, with traffic merging from both Nitro and St. Albans at either end onto an already busy interstate.

“Adding additional lanes will improve safety for years to come, but we want to make sure people stay safe through this work zone while the work is being completed,” Wriston continued. “We are taking our ‘Above and Beyond for Work Zone Safety’ approach. It’s not about checking boxes off a list or meeting minimum standards, it’s about making a real commitment to looking at work zones from a driver’s perspective and doing everything we can to keep people aware and safe in the work zone.”

Work has been completed on upgrading the navigational lights on the bridge to solar, which will be necessary during the construction phase of the project.

The work being completed in late December will occur behind a metal barrier put in place off the wide shoulders of I-64’s Westbound Entrance and Exit ramps. Travel ways will not be narrowed and traffic will not be impacted by the barrier, which is set in place to prevent any material from ending up on the roadway and to prevent trucks from parking on the shoulder.

The West Virginia Division of Highways will keep the public informed at each stage of the project as to lane closures and changes in traffic patterns.

“We are looking forward to seeing this project completed,” said Byrd White, Secretary of Transportation. “When it is complete, along with the other widening projects along I-64, traffic will flow smoothly, and the public will enjoy this road for years to come.”

Gov. Jim Justice and leaders from the West Virginia Department of Transportation announced that the contract had been awarded in November 2019.

The project includes the construction of an entirely new bridge over the Kanawha River — north of the existing bridge — which will carry solely westbound traffic on I-64; in the direction of Huntington. DOT officials estimate the improvements will provide another 100 years of service life to travelers.

The anticipated completion date for the project is fall of 2023.

Reporter Taylor Stuck can be reached at tstuck@hdmediallc.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook @TaylorStuckHD.