West Virginia awards $49M contract to widen Interstate 81

Published: Sep. 26, 2018 at 12:57 PM EDT
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West Virginia's Department of Transportation has awarded a $49 million contract to widen part of Interstate 81.

Gov. Jim Justice's office tells news outlets in a statement that he announced on Tuesday the award of the contract to A.L.L. Construction Inc. to expand I-81 in one part of the state. The project will widen 3.6 miles of I-81, between Tabler Station Road (Exit 8) and Apple Harvest Drive (Exit 12) in Berkeley County, from four lanes to six.

Department Division of Highways project engineer Rion Wimer has said it'll help eliminate traffic congestion near Martinsburg.

Officials say construction is scheduled to start this fall and continue to 2020. The Mount Storm-based company was the lone bidder for the project with a bid of $49,456,139.00.

The work is being funded by a constitutional amendment voters passed last year that gave the state legislature authority to issue $1.6 billion in bonds over the next four years.

In Virginia, on the other hand, an

to get community input on the problems with the entire I-81 corridor continues next month.

There have been two versions so far, focusing first

, then on potential improvements and revenue sources.

The third series will focus on recommended project packages as the Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment finalizes a draft plan report. The first will be on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at Blue Ridge Community College at 5 p.m. The second will be at Shenandoah University on Thursday, Oct. 18 at 5 p.m.

The following meetings will be in Abingdon and Roanoke.

Comments are being taken at those meetings or by contacting Ben Mannell, study manager, at or by mail to 1401 E. Broad St., Richmond, Virginia 23219, or by phone at 804-786-2971. The comment period will end November 30, 2018.

The Virginia Department of Transportation has reported a 12% increase in traffic on I-81 around Harrisonburg in the past five years, and delays have increased by 55%. But community and industry feedback will play a large part in VDOT's next decisions.