MONONGALIA CO., W.Va. – Expected traffic, delays and lane closures lie in the future of thousands of nighttime commuters who use Interstate I-79 from Mile Post 152 to Mile Post 155.
The West Virginia Division of Highways, (DOH) is asking drivers to plan ahead this roadwork, which is slated to begin around Sept. 1. This is according to District Four Engineer Michael Cronin, who said DOH has already spoken to the contractor and the work should take three to four weeks, weather permitting. Roadwork will happen at night from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.
“The condition of the pavement is starting to have alligator cracking in it, which is small hairline cracks,” Cronin said. “And that’s just a sign we’re about ready to have a bunch of potholes in it.”
If these hairline cracks are left alone for now, it could spell worse delays for commuters in the future. It would mean DOH would have to come back over and over to do “pothole work”, Cronin said.
“It’s constant bombardment, slowing traffic down,” he said. “We’re out there working with small setups. This is one set up to take care of three miles, at one time, with brand-new paving that should last 10 to 15 years.”
During the day, cones and equipment will be moved to the side of the road, on the shoulder.
However, at night, while the roadwork is ongoing, Cronin said, drivers can expect lane closures. That may look like one lane in each direction closed, or one lane in one direction being closed. Things will vary depending on the day and the type of work crews are doing.
But, drivers will still be able to get through, the district engineer said. They, just, might be delayed when they travel.
If you’re planning to get through there in the evening after seven o’clock when work starts and lanes are closed, allow some additional time. It’s easy to start 10 minutes early. And don’t plan on getting through there quickly. Though we’ll have traffic moving in and out, the traffic pattern will change. Just be careful and pay attention. Allow extra time or plan to get around.Micale Cronin – District 4 Engineer, DOH
Cronin said DOH would rather have drivers plan ahead or drive slower than the alternative — drivers speeding through work zones.
“We, always, try to stress safety on our projects,” Cronin said.
The district engineer said he knows how paramount safety is from his 23 years working in construction in the Parkersburg area.
That is why he is urging the public to heed DOH’s warnings to plan ahead, drive slow and pay more attention to signs and the roadway.
“People don’t seem to see the orange signs, or they get used to the orange signs and then they don’t see the people working out there,” Cronin said. “Slow down. Pay attention. Please put your phones down. Keep your eyes ahead and watch what’s going on.”