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State: US 35 upgrade announcement premature

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CHARLESTON, WV (AP) -

State officials say an announcement regarding the completion of upgrading U.S. 35 is premature.

A Putnam County commissioner announced Tuesday during a commission meeting that work on the project could begin next year. Media outlets reported that Commissioner Andy Skidmore said the project would be funded through a public-private partnership.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Department of Transportation spokeswoman Brent Walker later said the Division of Highways hasn't yet identified candidate projects for this type of funding.

Walker says the state doesn't have a plan or funding source in place for the U.S. 35 project.

The DOT wants to upgrade a 14.6-mile stretch of U.S. 35 in Putnam and Mason counties to four lanes.

Skidmore says he's confident the project will be eligible for public-private partnership funding.

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