Interstate 70 Resurfacing at State Line Nears Completion
WEST ALEXANDER — The reconstruction of Interstate 70 in Pennsylvania that was damaged by undermining earlier this year is ahead of schedule, but when West Virginia will begin its portion of the project is still up in the air.
Motorists can soon expect some relief while traveling on I-70 between Dallas Pike and West Alexander. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is in the final stages of the resurfacing project where longwall mining was performed in January and February near the state line.
The project’s completion date, which had been July 1, is ahead of schedule and expected to be finished by Friday, June 21, according to Ray Deep, who works in the quality office at PennDOT.
While PennDOT officials said in early May they thought they were past the timeline when they would see more subsidence issues that could damage the interstate on the Pennsylvania side of the state line, West Virignia Department of Transportation officials are continuing to monitor the highway in that area as the longwall mining is scheduled to proceed east toward Dallas Pike in the the coming months.
Crews with Lindy Paving Inc of Pittsburgh finished resurfacing the east and westbound sides of the interstate on the Pennsylvania side of the state line last weekend, and crews with PennLine were seen installing new guardrails this week.
Construction crews are also working in the median installing culvert drains.
Motorists encountered heavy traffic delays for nearly two months along that same stretch of highway earlier this year as PennDOT and West Virginia Division of Highway crews had to monitor the highway and repair compression bumps and cracks as a result of the Tunnel Ridge mining company performing longwall mining hundreds of feet beneath the surface of the highway earlier this year.
With Tunnel Ridge Coal Company moving its longwall mining operations across the state line into West Virginia over the past couple of months, West Virginia DOH officials said they will continue to take safety precautions and monitor the highway in that area over the coming months.
West Virginia DOH District 6 Construction Engineer Jay Wallace said the coal company’s next coal panel is expected to eventually run beneath the area near the West Virginia Welcome Center, which is located between the state line and Dallas Pike.
“We will continue to monitor it (I-70),” Wallace explained.
He said it is too soon for West Virginia highway officials to make any long-term interstate repair plans along that stretch of highway because the coal company is still scheduled to continue longwall mining in that area over the coming months. He thinks the company could be mining back in that area around September.
Motorists should expect some lane restrictions and delays to be in place throughout the remainder of PennDOT’s project, and should proceed with caution as the speed limit has been lowered throughout the work zone.