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Repairs to Interstate 70 Near West Virginia Welcome Center in Ohio County Expected To Wrap Up in April

Photo by Scott McCloskey Traffic continues to be narrowed to one lane in both directions on a section of Interstate 70 Friday near the West Virginia Welcome Center in Ohio County as a longwall mining operation passes deep below the surface.

Motorists now driving through one-lane sections of Interstate 70 near the West Virginia Welcome Center in Ohio County won’t have much longer to deal with that. Road resurfacing repairs due to longwall mining in the area should be finished by early April, according to the West Virginia Division of Highways.

WVDOH Area Engineer Mike Witherow said the DOH will perform some surveying work prior to a local contractor repairing the highway, as another longwall coal panel has passed deep below the surface in that area.

“They have to do some surveying and get some numbers together, which is going to take a couple of weeks,” Witherow said, “and then hopefully the weather will break for us and we should be able to get in there and get the paving done.

Witherow said expansion joints were constructed in that area last year while another coal panel moved below the highway. The DOH will continue to monitor that part of I-70, as some cracks have appeared in some areas of the road surface, similar to previous longwall passes in that area.

“As far as the subsidence goes, we are seeing a lot of the same things we saw in (coal) panel 17 — some cracking in the pavement, some expansion,” he added. “But we’ve got people out there 24-7 monitoring it and milling and stuff as needed.

While the completion date for the work has been set for April 9, Witherow said the weather will play a big part in hitting that date.

“It’s weather dependent,” he said. “As long as the weather breaks to allow us to go ahead and get paving there late in March.”

Drivers should watch for a reduced speed limit and changing traffic patterns in that area, as well as delays over the coming weeks.

Witherow said the DOH decided to close the pull-off area at the Welcome Center during the winter months as they continue to monitor that area. The welcome center building was closed in mid-April last year as The Hughes Corporation of Sycamore, Pennsylvania, began mitigation work to minimize structural damage to the building during the mining process.

Several more longwall panels are scheduled to pass beneath the highway in the area between the welcome center and the Dallas Pike exit over the next couple of years, according to Witherow.

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