Reconstruction of W.Va. Turnpike travel plazas set to start

Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 7:13 PM EST
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BECKLEY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Drivers on the West Virginia Turnpike may need to make additional stops for food or the restroom starting this month.

Gov. Jim Justice announced in November that two turnpike plazas will shut down and are set to be demolished and reconstructed for new modern, facilities to make visitors feel more welcome to the area.

This month marks the closure of the existing Beckley and Bluestone plazas. Visitors in Beckley will be redirected toward the Tamarack exit for more substantial meals and restrooms during demolition and construction as crews rebuild the current plazas for modern facilities.

It’s a move the state hopes will lead to a road of possibilities to bring in tourists like David Sanchez of Cleveland.

“I work all year long, I take the month of February off so we’re going down this way stand for the whole month out there to Charlotte and then going to Florida.”

He said he was surprised by the construction in Beckley.

“We always like stopping here to get something to eat at the plaza there. and they were shut down., Sanchez said.

He said the closed facilities gave him the excuse to check out the Tamarack.

“We never came up here. We always looked at the building and said ‘one of these days, we’ll go up to and check it out see, we’ll see what it is’ we didn’t know,” he said. “We ended up coming up here, we got our fuel. and we needed something to snack on something to eat so the sign said, ‘snack up this way’ and I’m so glad that we stopped here because it’s it was good. it was nice, it’s all local, it’s really nice.”

While inconvenient to reroute around the plaza, Sanchez said he is more motivated to explore West Virginia.

“The people are friendly, they’re great, you know, coming from up down up north, everybody likes to move, move but down here it’s like slower but friendly, and I like that.”

The anticipated date for demolition to begin of the facilities is mid-March. Restroom and food options are being provided at Tamarack. Completion is expected by the end of 2024.

The Morton facility -- in Kanawha County -- will remain open for now. Its replacement is slated for 2025 -- once the other projects are complete.