Project to Improve the Old U.S. Route 35 Starts Tuesday

PUTNAM COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- It may not be the original plan, but a busy road in Putnam and Mason counties is getting a facelift.

The state wanted to put in a new U.S. Route 35 consisting of four lanes, but there was never an agreement on how to pay for it.

Starting Tuesday, crews will begin fixing the old, two-lane road.

Route 35 is heavily traveled, especially by truck drivers.

“It makes for a dangerous commute sometimes,” Norman Forbes said.

Forbes, who grew up along the road, has had some close calls since he started driving it.

“I’ve witnessed several accidents in the years I grew up here with truck drivers running off the road because of the narrow road,” Forbes said.

Work will begin Tuesday on the 11-mile stretch from Beach Hill in Mason County to Plantation Road in Putnam County. Then next year, it will continue from there to the Buffalo Bridge where the previous project ended.

“Because we couldn't build a new road there, we decided to go ahead and make some safety improvements to the existing road,” said Brent Walker, communications director with the West Virginia Division of Highways.

If you're driving along the old Route 35, you can see there's really no room for mistakes. So, the plan is to bring the shoulder out 4 feet on each side to make the road safer.

“The wider the better, because most often you see accidents where a trucker has ran off the road and tried to get back on and either jackknifed the rig or turned it over,” Forbes said.

Crews will begin work on the first phase at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Most of the work will be done during the overnight hours.

That part is expected to be finished by November. The second phase probably will not get started until next year.

In addition to widening the road, crews also will be fixing parts that have slipped and doing some repaving.

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