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DOH warns of more traffic changes in I-64 Nitro/St. Albans bridge project

Updated: Jun. 4, 2021 at 11:43 PM EDT
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ST. ALBANS, W.Va. (WSAZ) - It’s been almost two months since the groundbreaking of the I-64 Nitro/St. Albans bridge project, and now officials are urging drivers that roads will be looking completely different throughout the area.

“For the next couple of years in the entire area of St. Albans (and) Nitro there will be multiple traffic shifts and multiple traffic changes, so please be cautious of the area and allow extra time for commute,” said Department of Highways (DOH) District 1 Engineer Gary Mullins.

For now, the current traffic change is at the St. Albans connector entrance/exit that sits along Route 817. The typical four lane, with two on each side, is now down to only two lanes that sit side by side. While that change happened Tuesday night, some drivers say it’s already causing a headache.

“I think people are just used to it being two lanes of traffic going towards the interstate, and now it’s one lane each way, so I think it’s confusing people. They’re driving out of habit and they’re not reading what’s out there,” Mullins told WSAZ.

Mullins said this is just one phase to the overall project; he expects there to be at least 20 phases total. He said crews had to shift all the traffic to the eastbound side of the connector in St. Albans so they could work on the westbound side.

“When we’re completed with all the work, St. Albans will no longer have a stop condition at the exit ramps (on) I-64,” he said. “There will (be) a continuous flow going on I-64 westbound — instead of one bridge, we’ll have two and there will be no stop sign.”

He said so far, he’s only received one complaint about a car traveling in the wrong direction on the connector. He says if more complaints come in, they will add more signs for the public.

“Everybody really needs to look at the signs almost daily because things will change over the next two years. There’s 20 different surfaces to the contract.”

Mullins said the work on the St. Albans connector will last for three months on the east side, then crews will work on the west side for three months. He anticipates the two bridges at the St. Albans interchange to be completed within one year.

Mullins said they are a little behind when it comes to where they wanted to be at this point with the project, but he believes they can catch up within the next two years to reach the completion date.

DOH said drivers can expect to see another change in traffic patterns in about one month on I-64 itself.

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