POINT PLEASANT — The completion of U.S. 35 is on schedule.
Cliff Farley and Todd Rumbaugh, representing the West Virginia Division of Highways and Jennifer Belcher, project engineer for Bizzack Construction, updated the Mason County Commission on the progress of the project Thursday.
Farley said the $174 million project to expand the remaining 14.6 miles of U.S. 35 from two to four lanes, is moving toward its Nov. 12 completion date. This date includes the grade and drain portion of the project. The actual paving should be bid out in September, Rumbaugh said. Paving will take two years and the road should be open to traffic in the fall of 2020.
Farley added, total paid out to contractors, to date, is $151 million. At this point in the grade and drain project, 15.5 million cubic yards of earth have been moved out of a total of 16.8 million cubic yards, leaving about a couple of weeks left of major earth work to complete. Around 75 percent of the drainage pipes have been placed and there are currently 28 subcontractors on the project. The four sets of two bridges, including ones on Plantation Creek Road, Black Oak Road and Little 16 Mile Creek, are all moving towards completion in October. The bridge on Cornstalk Road should be completed in June. Farley also explained DOH will be adding in an access point to the new road at Jeffers Ridge.
Also discussed was the proposed redesign of the Buffalo Bridge interchange which at this point in the plans is a diamond shaped interchange, though the design is still being finalized. This reconfiguration of the interchange will be bid out, along with the paving, this fall. Rumbaugh said though it was difficult to give an exact price with the interchange still being designed, it’s expected to all fall around $90 million (including paving).
“It’s getting closer,” Commissioner Rick Handley said.
Handley added, he hoped DOH would note the “dip” in the southbound lanes of U.S. 35 about 2.5 miles from Henderson and make sure that the work being done now was “good and compact” upon paving, to avoid this issue.
Rumbaugh said one of the reasons the state was putting the bid out to pave in the fall was to allow the earth work to “settle out” over the winter.
Belcher said overall, the biggest issue had been some slides and soil issues during the grade and drain process, because as she put it, there’s more soil and less rock in the area. Belcher said despite this, the project has gone “smoothly.”
“To be such a big job, its been extremely smooth,” she said of the construction phase.
Beth Sergent is editor of Ohio Valley Publishing.