Barriers set to go up for I-79 widening project

CHARLESTON – Barrier walls are going up on Interstate 79 in preparation for a massive widening project between the South Fairmont and Pierpont exits in Marion County.

District 4 Engineer Mike Cronin said the $72.566 million project will widen I-79 to six lanes for a 3.1-mile stretch and ease congestion between Fairmont and Morgantown.

“That section of I-79 carries an astonishing amount of traffic,” Cronin said. “This will give them a third lane to minimize the congestion.”

West Virginia Division of Highways and contractors are taking special safety precautions for the project, including installation of barrier walls for the length of the work zone. This will allow motorists two 11-foot lanes in either direction.

“These walls will protect both the public and the workers,” Cronin said. “Traffic should flow steady, it’s just going to be at a reduced speed.”

Speed limits will be reduced to 55 mph in the construction zone. DOH is taking the extra step to place signs four miles out from either end of the work zone warning motorists of the upcoming construction. Regular construction zone signs will begin two miles out from the project.

Law enforcement will be on site when work is going on to help direct traffic.

WVDOH reminds motorists to pay attention to signs warning of upcoming construction zones, and to observe work zone safety. Above all, motorists are urged to keep heads up! Phones down!

Speed limits of 55 mph will be enforced.

Installation of the barrier walls should take about two weeks. The project is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2024.

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