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Blasting, rolling road blocks begin near St. Albans-Nitro Bridge

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 5:14 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Contractors set off the first of many explosive blasts Tuesday to get ready for major upgrades to the Nitro-St. Albans Bridge on Interstate 64.

West Virginia Division of Highways plans to build a new bridge beside the existing Nitro-St. Albans Bridge to carry westbound traffic, then build a new bridge on the site of the existing structure using a portion of the existing bridge piers to carry eastbound traffic.

The bridge upgrade is part of a $244 million project under Gov. Jim Justice’s Roads to Prosperity construction program to widen Interstate 64 to six lanes from Nitro to the US 35 interchange at Scott Depot. Other Roads to Prosperity projects will upgrade Interstate 64 to six lanes all the way from Charleston to Huntington.

Tuesday’s blast was to loosen up rock and dirt for a new road contour on the St. Albans exit ramp that ties in with WV 817. The blast went off without a hitch at 12:29 p.m.

Contractors closed St. Albans and Nitro interstate ramps for a few minutes before and after the blast for safety. West Virginia State Police, Putnam County sheriff’s deputies and Nitro city police also instituted rolling roadblocks on the interstate. 

In a rolling roadblock, law enforcement drives in front of traffic and slows the traffic stream down until safely past the construction work. Hamilton said the rolling roadblocks began at Cross Lanes for westbound traffic and at Scott Depot for traffic heading east. Rolling roadblocks kept contractors from having to close the interstate completely during the blast.

Periodic blasting is expected to continue through the end of August. Contractors have set up a window for blasting between noon and 2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

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