Drivers on Interstate 70 Get Some Relief as PennDOT Lifts Lane Restrictions Due to Longwall Mining by Tunnel Ridge
WEST ALEXANDER, Pa. — Motorists entering Ohio County from Pennsylvania on Interstate 70 encountered no delays for the first time in more than two months Tuesday.
The change came as the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation lifted the single lane restriction on I-70 between the West Virginia border and Exit 1 (West Alexander) following weeks of longwall mining by Tunnel Ridge LLC beneath the highway in that area.
West Virginia Division of Highways officials advise the one-lane restriction will be lifted Thursday on the West Virginia side of the state line.
PennDOT District 12 has resumed with two lanes of traffic in both directions on the interstate in that area, according to PennDOT Community Relations Coordinator Valerie Petersen.
She said since the longwall mining moved away from that location several weeks ago, PennDOT officials decided to reopen I-70 back to two lanes now that the surface in that area has had several weeks to settle.
Petersen said PennDOT may need to move some equipment back that location in the coming months for some additional resurfacing work, but for the time being they are resuming with two lanes of traffic in each direction. She said the speed limit has also been changed back to 55 mph along that stretch of highway.
While West Virginia Division of Highways officials could not be reached for comment Tuesday, a press release advises that beginning Thursday, the West Virginia DOH will also resume back to two lanes of traffic in both directions in that area as well. In addition, the speed limit will be changed to 55 mph at that location.
Motorists traveling along that stretch of highway have encountered traffic interruptions and delays since early January as highway crews had to repair compression bumps and cracks that emerged along the highway as a result of the Tunnel Ridge mining company performing longwall mining operations beneath the interstate in that area.