SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- UPDATE 7/8/19 @ 5:20 p.m.
Work is underway to tear down a total of 41 houses to make way for the Jefferson Road project. Demolition is scheduled for 11 houses this week before the rest are taken down later this month after all asbestos is removed.
Crews begin demolition of 11 homes in the first phase of the Jefferson Road construction project.
"My best friend lived at the end of this street, and I've lived down the street much of my life," Wayne Bailey said. He has lived in the neighborhood for 56 years.
Bailey's house is not scheduled for demolition. He's upset to see the changes being made to his neighborhood but understands that it's a good thing for the city.
"For Jefferson Park, obviously it is a bad thing, nobody was eager to leave," Bailey said. "But we understand it's progress and we support South Charleston. We support the city in that regard."
Other residents are not as understanding. Around 40 of the 60 people remaining in the area have signed a petition for their houses to be purchased.
"They don't understand why we are being forced, to remain in an area where our property has been reduced to zero value," Rosemarie Hunter said. "No one wants to buy a property in here. They've ruined this whole subdivision, and it was a beautiful neighborhood."
Hunter said she no longer feels safe in her neighborhood and does not want to live through the construction.
"They are going to take the rest of the subdivision, we have all heard that from different sources, that this is going to be totally bought out," Hunter said. "We feel like we should be given the option to get out now and not have to live through the next three years of being in what's like a war zone over here."
UPDATE 7/5/19 @ 12:50 p.m.
The demolition of homes along Jefferson Road has been scheduled, according to South Charleston Mayor Frank Mullens.
The Jefferson Road Improvement Project has been in the works for several months.
Mayor Mullens said asbestos removal has been completed at 11 homes and those homes are scheduled for demolition on Monday.
Asbestos removal will be done on the remaining homes in two weeks, and the structures will be demolished when the removal is complete, according to the mayor.
However, Mullens said it will probably won't be until 2021 when people start seeing actual changes like earth moving and bridge construction.
The overall project will cost about $46 million. The state is paying $10 million, and the rest will come from federal funding.
UPDATE 5/7/19 @ 8:30 p.m.
The Jefferson Road Improvement Project is already moving along, officials say.
According to South Charleston Mayor Frank Mullens, demolition should be completed and the houses will be down by mid-July. The overall project will cost about $46 million dollars. The state is paying $10 million, and the rest will be from federal funding.
Crews will have to do asbestos removal first. Within the next 40 to 45 days, people will start to see house demolition, relocation of utilities, and site work development.
Mullens said it will probably be 2021 until people start seeing actual changes like earth moving and bridge construction.
As far as traffic flow, the plan is for the road to be open through the construction period. From time to time, there might be slight disruption on traffic, but officials are hopeful that most of the work will be done at night and not take long.
Mullens said at the old FMC fly ash pond where the shopping complex will go, the project is starting. Officials say lots of testing will be done about how far into the mountain to cut. They say more than 480,000 cubic yards of fill from the project will be moved to the fly ash pond.
According to the mayor, interest from developers and retailers has been extremely high.
UPDATE 4/19/19 @ 1:25 p.m.
Gov. Jim Justice announced Friday that construction on the Jefferson Road Improvement Project will begin in the next few months.
It is expected to get underway in the next 60 days. The first step will be tearing down boarded-up houses that have been set for demolition.
Justice, who spoke from the South Charleston Community Center, said the project has taken far too long, and it is time to get things underway.
The contract has been awarded to Kokosing Construction Company.
Two miles of roadway will be expanded, there will be four to five lanes and even walking and cycling trails. There also will be room for a new shopping plaza at the site of the old fly ash pond along MacCorkle Avenue. South Charleston Mayor Frank Mullens said that will generate nearly $18 million in sales tax.
"It is a win for everybody," Mullens said. "Look folks, this is going to create three hundred million worth of new construction in South Charleston over the next several years ... so it is a huge game changer, not just for South Charleston but for the whole valley and the state of West Virginia."
The overall project will cost $46 million dollars. The state is paying $10 million, and the rest will be from federal funding.
There's also a roundabout included in the plan. Justice says they have added roundabouts to other areas of the state, and they have worked really well. Highway officials expect them to relieve a lot of so they are expecting that to relieve a lot of the congestion on the roadways.
Justice says there there will not be phases of this project, explaining workers will keep going until things are finished. It is expected to be completed by December 2022.
UPDATE 4/19/19 @ 7:35 p.m.
Gov. Jim Justice will hold two press events today to announce details on a pair of major road construction projects in Kanawha and Putnam counties.
He'll speak on the Jefferson Road Improvement Project at 11 a.m. at the South Charleston Community Center.
At 2 p.m., he'll discuss the U.S. 35 Roads to Prosperity Project at the West Virginia Division of Highways U.S. 35 Expressway Headquarters.
Justice will be joined by Department of Transportation Secretary Byrd White, acting Commissioner of Highways Jimmy Wriston, and other WVDOT officials.
UPDATE 4/18/19 @ 9:25 p.m.
The project that will widen a busy stretch of road in South Charleston could start in the next 60 days.
That's what Mayor Frank Mullens is hoping. He told us Thursday afternoon that the construction bid for the Jefferson Road project was awarded to Kokosing Construction Co.
They are working together to get specific dates on the calendar for construction to start.
Houses that are currently boarded up near the Kanahwa Turnpike will be torn down to make way for the overpass and new lanes that will help ease congestion. It's on a path that's a connector to Corridor G (U.S. 119) and to the shopping plaza that is currently under development in the old fly ash pond along MacCorkle Avenue.
We will keep you posted about the latest traffic pattern changes. Keep checking the WSAZ App for the latest information.
UPDATE 4/18/19 @ 3:55
A contract for the Jefferson Road project in South Charleston was awarded on Thursday.
Kokosing Construction Co. was the lowest bidder.
Mayor Frank Mullens said he is already in the process of setting up a meeting with the construction company to set dates for the project.
This is a developing story. Keep checking the WSAZ App for the latest information.
ORIGINAL STORY 1/29/19
Jefferson Road in South Charleston is set for a major makeover soon.
Kokosing Construction Co. was the lowest bidder for the project.
Mayor Frank Mullens said he was pleased by the number of bids made.
Mullens said he hopes work on the road can get started within the next 60 days.