FAIRMONT, W.Va. – On Thursday, the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced construction will start on I-79.
The statement said crews will begin to put out barriers from South Fairmont to the Pierpont Exit in Marion County to begin a widening project. DOT officials said the project will widen I-79 to six lanes on more than a 3-mile stretch. During the construction the barriers will allow motorists two 11-foot lanes in either direction.
The widening is to hopefully ease congestion between Fairmont and Morgantown once the project is completed.
“That section of I-79 carries an astonishing amount of traffic,” District 4 Engineer, Mike Cronin, said. “This will give them a third lane to minimize the congestion.”
Speed limits will be reduced to 55 mph in the construction zone. Division of Highways is taking the extra step to place signs four miles out from either end of the work zone warning motorists of the upcoming construction. Regular construction zone signs will begin two miles out from the project.
“It’s going to be an ongoing project,” Jeff Crislip, WVDOH highway administrator said. “The completion of that is not until the fall of 2024 so you’ll have to bear with us on the congestion on 250 with the widening of the bridges, new bridges and the widening of the whole interstate system. So, there will be some congestion, but it will greatly benefit the area when it’s completed.”
The project will cost $72,566 million.