CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has pledged the “State of West Virginia’s full support” for the proposed project to build a new exit on Interstate 79 in the Harmony Grove area near Morgantown.
Located between the Interstate 68 exit and the Westover exit on I-79, the interchange would service the Morgantown Industrial Park and other local businesses and homes in the area.
“Morgantown and all of north central West Virginia is a region of our state that continues to grow like crazy. This project to reshape I-79 is a large but necessary undertaking to provide convenient access to the industrial park and other areas where business is flourishing more than ever before,” Gov. Justice said. “These upgrades would also add an element of safety for motorists who use this high-traffic corridor, especially local residents who travel on the interstate every day.”
Support for the interchange doesn’t stop at Justice however.
Congressman David McKinley and Senators Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin have already encouraged U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Secretary Pete Buttigieg to approve the Interchange Justification Report for the new exit.
“I didn’t want to leave this opportunity unchecked for me. Senator Manchin and David McKinley and I wrote you a letter just recently asking you to review and approve the interchange justification report for the Harmony Grove Interchange on I-79 near Morgantown,” Sen. Capito said during a subcommittee hearing of the United States Senate Appropriations Committee to review the FY2023 budget request for the USDOT. “If safety’s your priority, this is a safety issue because of the business park that is associated, which is growing, and you know, that’s been difficult for us to be able to grow in our state. We’re excited about the possibilities here, but it would take a lot of truck traffic out of those local areas. So, I just want to put that on your radar screen again and hope you can take a look at that.”
The Interchange Justification Report was commissioned by the West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) back in October 2020 to explore the feasibility of building a new interchange off of I-79. The report is being developed by private developer and MIP owner Enrout Properties.
Enrout’s proposal must be approved by the WVDOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) before going forward.
“Convenient access is one of the very first things that businesses look for when determining where to build, which is exactly why I said we needed to focus on major infrastructure projects like this one when I first came up with the phrase, ‘Roads To Prosperity,’” Gov. Justice said. “As you build out your infrastructure, more and more businesses and people will want to come to you, because you make it convenient. You welcome them in with open arms.”