WSAZ Investigates | Progress underway in Cross Lanes road project

Cross Lanes motorists have a new reason for hope.
Published: Apr. 11, 2023 at 7:10 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Motorists in Cross Lanes may have good reason to hold their breath.

They’ve been waiting for years, but a Tuesday announcement from the West Virginia Division of Highways gives new reason for hope as the state says it has accepted bids from two contractors on how much it will cost to widen the heavily traveled roadway.

More than 25,000 drivers travel this section of road in Cross Lanes every day, and often they wait stuck in traffic.

In 2019, many believed a proposed widening project -- that would expand Goff Mountain and Big Tyler Roads -- would be an answer to daily gridlock.

That’s when the state Division of Highways had distributed maps to residents and months later hosted a public meeting, where the agency told neighbors construction was expected to get underway in winter 2021, but nearly a year later WSAZ found the same gridlock.

Cross Lanes resident Richard Gerkin told us in 2019 that he looked forward to less traffic.

“I thought it was good news,” he said at the time. “It’s been a long time coming for Cross Lanes.”

But years of delay have now turned to frustration, WSAZ found upon a recent return to Gerkin’s house in October 2022.

“That was three years ago. What’s your thoughts now?” asked WSAZ NewsChannel 3′s Curtis Johnson.

“Well, where’s it been?” Gerkin replied. “Why, after all of this time, at least hasn’t a little bit of something been done to actually start construction and start doing the upgrade that’s supposedly in the works?”

Gerkin was happy to hear Tuesday’s news.

“It’s been a long time coming. And we had talked about this a number of times, and just to see the fact that there’s going to be a bid is a big deal, that’s a really big deal,” he told WSAZ’s Kimberly Donahue Tuesday. “That means things are going to go forward. And I think that’s wonderful.”

That update shows that the state Division of Highways has accepted bids from two contractors -- Triton Construction for $29.8 million and Bear Contracting for just more than $37 million. The state says it often awards the project to a contractor within a week of Tuesday’s action, although the process can take longer.

“We’re in a spot where we can actually make something happen based on all this money that’s available these days and I think that’s a good thing,” Gerkin told Donahue.

The DOH says it has worked with business owners and acquired more than 60 parcels of land to support the project. There’s no word about when you could actually see construction begin or how long the project will take.