ROAD PATROL: Bridge 857 off exit 7 faces weeks of construction to prevent falling concrete

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The many routes into downtown Morgantown are traveled by thousands on a daily basis, but with recent construction taking place it’s starting to cause traffic delays for day to day commuters.

Edward Hawkins, a Monongalia County commissioner, said construction on the 857 bridge off exit 7 started nearly six weeks ago with preparations to repair the chipping and falling concrete.

“What they’ve done is determine that the concrete was falling on this bridge and it had been scheduled for concrete replacement,” said Hawkins.  

The purpose of this project is to prevent chipping concrete from falling onto the continuous moving traffic below on interstate 68 along with preventing future wear and tear on vehicles.  

“We’re hoping there will be no longer thump thumps,” explained Hawkins.

County commissioners said this project is purely for safety benefits for all members of the community and those who travel this route to and from downtown Morgantown.

“It’s purely for safety reasons we can’t have pieces of concrete falling onto the interstate going down below.”

Though most progress tends to be made during night hours a main concern is still increased traffic.

County commissioner Hawkins said he projects this problem to only increase as the project continues.

“Stress on that bridge it is tremendous I mean if you look at the amount of traffic we know that there’s 35,000 vehicles on 705 well that 857 bridge feeds right into 705, even this morning at 8:45 when I’m driving to town traffic is still backed up,” said Hawkins.

County commissioners encourage commuters to prepare for future travel delays in the coming weeks and said the headache will be worth it in the end.

“You’re seeing the easiest thing happening now because when they start for the outside lanes it’s going to funnel into just one lane on each side, I believe that’s just going to be another confluence of structure of traffic,” said Hawkins. “Let’s put it this way we’ve all been clambering for our roads to be worked on, let’s not swear at the road workers who are working on the roads to improve what we have.”

The city of Morgantown has high hopes of this project being complete and operable by the summer months.

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