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I-79 paving at Elkview nears end

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Construction contractors are nearly finished with a 4 1/2-mile repaving project on Interstate 79 between Elkview and Clendenin.

Brent Walker, spokesman for the West Virginia Division of Highways, said West Virginia Paving has until the end of October to complete the $10.5 million job repaving all four north and southbound interstate lanes.

But Walker said a stretch of good weather might mean all four lanes will reopen sooner. "We're definitely on the downhill side [of the construction]," Walker said. "I think you're probably looking at the next couple of weeks."

Paving began in May, but was halted for about two weeks in August after fresh pavement began shifting in the northbound lanes just south of Clendenin. Those bad patches of asphalt have since been repaired.

Walker said the Elkview job is the first contract state highways officials have signed that includes a nine-year warranty on the work performed. He said highways officials decided to pay a little bit more up front for the warranty, which requires the contractor to fix anything that goes wrong with the road service during the next nine years.

Walker said the warranty is one of the ways highways officials are trying to stretch money for road maintenance. He said state officials haven't increased the budget for repaving for about 10 years.

"We're still paving, but we're paving fewer miles," he said. Anything that can be done to get more roads repaved is being considered, he said.

All four lanes of interstate between Clendenin and Elkview were open late last week, but two lanes were again shut down on Tuesday. Walker said all lanes were open temporarily for the Labor Day weekend and for travel to the WVU-Marshall football game in Morgantown.

"You'll see that with all the [WVU] home games," Walker said. "We try to make things as easy on travelers as possible."

Reach Rusty Marks at rustymarks@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.


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