PRINCETON, W.Va. -- Interstate 77 between the Princeton and Bluefield exits in Mercer County will be closed from 10 a.m. to noon on Friday to allow contractors to blast and remove a slipping hillside that has kept the northbound slow lane of the freeway closed since Dec. 2.
Removal of the slide, located near mile marker 3, will also require the temporary closure of W.Va. 112, which runs parallel to the interstate near the area to be blasted.
State Division of Highways crews and contractor personnel will work to open the southbound lanes within 30 minutes of the blast. The northbound lanes are expected to remain closed for the rest of the afternoon to allow for debris removal and additional work by the contractor.
The northbound fast lane is expected to reopen by dusk. The northbound slow lane will remain closed indefinitely to allow for additional debris removal.
Northbound traffic will be detoured onto U.S. 52 at Exit 1, and then follow U.S. 460 back to I-77 at the Princeton interchange. Flaggers will be placed at strategic intersections along the detour route to help speed the movement of traffic.
Drivers should expect an extra 30 to 45 minutes of travel to negotiate the detour.