Section of I-70 West Near Mount DeChantal Off-Ramp Expected to Reopen Monday
WHEELING – Interstate 70 remains on track to fully reopen over the weekend, following nine months of detours and orange barrels.
The westbound lanes of the interstate have been closed since February near the Mount DeChantal Road exit as part of the ongoing I-70 Bridges Project. West Virginia Division of Highways District 6 Engineer Tony Clark said work has moved ahead of schedule to allow the reopening.
While Swank Construction planned to have one lane of that section of highway reopened by the end of this week, Clark said it looks like the reopening may occur closer to Monday, weather permitting. He said the rainy weather over the past few days delayed the reopening. On Friday, Swank crews were removing scaffolding and other materials beneath that section of the highway and installing sections of guardrail.
“Unless something drastic happens — by Monday you should be able to drive I-70 westbound clear-through and not have to get off the detour that’s been in place since February. So it’s big news,” Clark said.
Motorists have followed the detour onto National Road and over Wheeling Hill for the past nine months as Swank replaced the Fulton Bridges sections of I-70 and renovated several other spans.
While the westbound on-ramp near Perkins Restaurant reopened to traffic earlier this month following the completion of the Fulton Bridges, Clark said the Mount DeChantal section was a few weeks behind due to the delay in some construction materials due to the ongoing pandemic.
“There was just some of the work on the bridge that was delayed. It was on track to be completed at or before the Fulton Bridge but there were some material delays,” Clark said.
He added while opening at least one lane of the westbound side of the highway all the way through the city is extremely exciting news, work on the overall project will continue as normal at all of the other project sites throughout the winter and into next year.
Clark said he doesn’t want to give the public the impression that the remaining work on I-70 west is complete, but at least motorists will be able to drive straight through without being detoured. Swank Construction is scheduled to begin demolition and construction on the eastbound side of the Fulton Bridges section of I-70 by Feb. 1. That work is expected to be complete by Nov. 1, 2021.