Route 2 expansion ahead of schedule

PARKERSBURG – The expansion of West Virginia 2 at Interstate 77 is ahead of schedule and could be completed this fall, state highway officials said.

One of the largest road construction projects underway in the area, the project will expand part of W.Va. 2 to five lanes for 1.65 miles from the I-77 interchange to Valley Mills Road. The $22 million job includes replacing the overpass bridge over the interstate.

Work began on the project in January 2012. Originally, the project was expected to be completed by March 2014.

”The project should be done anytime by the middle of October and the beginning of November,” said Mike Foley, construction engineer with the Division of Highways. ”It is a little ahead of schedule right now.”

Work has been ahead of schedule since last fall, he said. It has remained ahead of schedule despite the rainfall, Foley said.

”The weather has been mild, but wet,” Foley said. ”They were way ahead of schedule last season and that has carried over.”

In addition to Kelly Paving, 20 subcontractors have worked on the project.

Development officials hope economic expansion follows the physical expansion of the road.

Cam Huffman, president of the Wood County Development Authority, said the agency has been promoting the Emerson Commons area off W.Va. 2 near the interchange to potential developers.

The biggest concern was the lack of a traffic light at the entry to the development, he said. Changes in the configuration have allowed for the addition of a traffic light.

Huffman believes the expansion of W.Va. 2 will increase the potential for development.

”I am sure it will help,” he said.

The intention of the project was to alleviate traffic congestion, Foley said.

Most of the road leading to and from the bridge mostly completed, except for paving at different points, Foley said.

Approach slabs are being installed at the bridge to help prevent settling, Foley said.

”Once they get those done, they will move onto the asphalt paving,” he said of the rest of the mainline roadway. ”The end is definitely in sight.”