CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice is calling for West Virginians everywhere to join him today in celebrating the 3rd anniversary of the historic passage of Gov. Justice’s Roads To Prosperity bond program.
“This is a day that all West Virginians should celebrate every year,” Gov. Justice said. “It was on this day three years ago that the people of this state made their voices heard, loud and clear, that they were done with being 50th and they were all-in on our incredible Roads To Prosperity plan to bring all kinds of goodness to West Virginia.”
On October 7, 2017, West Virginians were asked to cast their vote on whether to approve the issuance of $1.6 billion of state bonds to build and upgrade the state’s roads and bridges. This historic road bond passed with an overwhelming majority of voters – 73 percent – supporting the Governor’s Roads To Prosperity initiative.
“Of course it took a leader – someone to come up with an idea – and it took the Legislature to pass it,” Gov. Justice said. “But at the end of the day, West Virginia, you deserve the credit for all the great work that’s happening and continues to go on today.
“It took a lot on your part, West Virginia, to believe in our plan,” Gov. Justice continued. “But now it’s really paying off, and all without adding any new taxes.”
According to the West Virginia Department of Transportation, 811 projects – worth $482.9 million and spanning 1,543 miles – have already been completed through the Roads To Prosperity program to-date. Those projects, spread across all 55 counties, include paving, slip/slide repairs, bridge repairs, and other road improvements.
Well over $1 billion-worth of major infrastructure improvement projects through Gov. Justice’s Roads To Prosperity program have either been completed to date or are currently underway.
The program has also freed up millions of additional dollars that the WVDOT’s Division of Highways has been able to put back into the smaller roads across West Virginia through the Governor’s Secondary Roads Maintenance Initiative. Since March 2019, when Gov. Justice directed DOH leaders to make road maintenance its top priority, Highways crews have completed 27,967 miles-worth of work on West Virginia’s secondary roads. On top of that, new online resources like the WVDOT’s interactive map of statewide roadwork have been built to keep the public informed of the progress being made on West Virginia’s roadways.
Hundreds of additional Roads To Prosperity projects are currently in the construction process across the state.
“I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished in such a short amount of time and we’re not finished by a long shot,” Gov. Justice said. “We’re going to continue improving our transportation network, which is going to allow us to bring more people and businesses into our great state for years to come; not to mention all of the jobs that the construction work is providing.”
West Virginians can track the status of all Roads to Prosperity websites, on the WVDOT’s Drive Forward website.
MAJOR ROADS TO PROSPERITY PROJECTS
Just last week, Gov. Justice held a grand opening ceremony for the Coalfields Expressway; a major road project that sat unfinished for 14 years until the Governor’s Roads To Prosperity program provided the needed funding to get the road paved and opened.
This new section of the Coalfields Expressway runs 8.9 miles from Slab Fork to Mullens and is the first four-lane highway in Wyoming County. The project also included construction of more than one mile of two-lane highway from the Mullens exit of the expressway into the city.
In total, this project added 10 miles to the existing network of the Coalfields Expressway, extending the total length to 18 miles. The new portion of expressway reduced the drive time from Slab Fork to Mullens to 10 minutes.
The need for a highway through the state’s southern coalfields was first identified by lawmakers in the 1980’s. By 1995, the Coalfields Expressway Authority had been created and the route was recognized as a high-priority corridor and designated as part of the National Highway System. The first turn of dirt on the expressway began in the early 2000’s. But, due to a lack of funding, paving only got as far as Slab Fork before the project stalled out. Preliminary road grading had been completed between Slab Fork and Mullens before work stopped.
The new section was constructed with a 10-foot slab of concrete. Over 20 miles of drainage pipes were installed on the route. These drains will protect the road from water getting trapped underneath and causing failures in the future.
Started in November 2019, the roundabout is designed to help alleviate traffic congestion at the intersections of State Routes 14 and 31 in Wood County. The $4.3 million project is estimated to be completed this winter.
King Coal Highway
In September 2018, Gov. Justice and WVDOT awarded the contract to construct a nearly 4-mile section of King Coal Highway from John Nash Boulevard to Airport Road in Mercer County. Part of the Roads To Prosperity program, and financed with Turnpike Bonds, this grade, drain, and paving project was awarded to Kanawha Stone Company, Inc. of Nitro with a bid of $57,529,863.86.
Crews are currently performing large earthwork construction and working on a bridge pier and abutments. The work is scheduled to be completed November 2021.
I-79 Exit 99
In September 2018, Gov. Justice and the WVDOT announced the award of the contract to rebuild the southbound interchange of Exit 99 (Weston/Buckhannon) on I-79 in Lewis County. Awarded to Vecellio & Grogan, Inc. of Beckley with a bid of $24,103,865.78, this General Obligation Bond project provides for relocating, rebuilding, and making other safety improvements to the southbound interchange (on and off ramps) of Exit 99 along I-79.
The overall enhancement effort on WV Route 10 consists of five road projects in total, spanning nearly 75 miles across Logan, Wyoming, and Mercer counties. All five phases of the Route 10 project are part of the Governor’s Roads To Prosperity program.
In August 2017, the WVDOT completed the first of the five WV-10 enhancement projects. This segment of work was done in Logan County and included widening, paving and several other improvements to a 9-mile portion of WV-10 from the town of Man to the Logan/Wyoming county line.
In June 2019, Gov. Justice celebrated the beginning of work on all three of the Wyoming County projects.
One of the projects includes the widening and paving of 23 miles of new highway on WV-10 from the Logan/Wyoming county line to Pineville. This project is estimated to be completed in July 2021.
Another of the projects includes widening and paving 27.5 additional miles of new highway on WV-10 from Pineville to the Wyoming/Mercer county line. This section has an estimated completion date of April 2021.
The third Wyoming County project was the rehabilitation of the Ken Shadrick Bridge.
In July 2019, Gov. Justice awarded the contract for the fifth and final leg of overall WV-10 improvements – spanning a total of more than 70 miles – from Man in Logan County to Kegley in Mercer County. This latest contract calls for road widening and paving work on the 14-mile stretch; which includes culvert and ditch maintenance, stream stabilization, a piling wall slide repair, the addition of new signage and guardrails, and the rehabilitation of four bridges. That section is estimated to be completed in April 2021.
I-70 Wheeling Bridges
Gov. Justice toured the I-70 Bridges project during a visit to Wheeling in September 2020. The project – which includes the replacement of the Fulton Bridge just east of the Wheeling Tunnel and the rehabilitation of another 25 bridges along I-70 – is one of the most significant projects of Gov. Justice’s Roads To Prosperity program. In August 2019, Gov. Justice announced that the contract for the project had been awarded to Swank Construction Company after the Governor helped secure a cost-savings of more than $60 million from the original low bid.
I-64 Nitro/St. Albans Bridge
In November 2019, Gov. Jim Justice and leaders from WVDOT announced the contract for the major project to expand and revamp the I-64 Nitro/St. Albans Bridge – also known as the Donald M. Legg Memorial Bridge – had been awarded to the joint venture of Brayman Construction and Trumbull Construction for $224.4 million. The contract for this large-scale project aims to eliminate regular congestion, while also making the area safer for motorists. The project is currently projected to be finished by October 2023.
I-81 in Berkeley County
In September 2018, Gov. Justice approved a contract award to widen and upgrade I-81 between Tabler Station Road and Apple Harvest Drive in Berkeley County. This General Obligation Bond project was awarded to A.L.L. Construction, Inc., of Mt. Storm, WV, with a bid of $49,456,139.00. The work provides for upgrading to 6 lanes, a 3.6-mile section of I-81 between Tabler Station Road (exit 8) and Apple Harvest Drive (exit 12).