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15 base failures must be fixed before interstate-widening project continues

August 27, 2013|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthewu@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Contractors are closer to completing an Interstate 81-widening project in Berkeley County, but they first must repair areas where the highway’s original concrete pavement has failed beneath the asphalt.

“The original concrete pavement that was placed years ago — that is under the blacktop — will be cut out, the area will be stabilized and refilled with concrete prior to placement of the new asphalt,” Troy White, area engineer for the West Virginia Division of Highways, said in an email Tuesday.

The repairs to 15 base failures will be made between Exit 20 for Spring Mills and the southern end of the project, which is north of Exit 16 for Hedgesville, White said.

After the base failures are repaired, the only work left, excluding a punch list of final details to work out, is placing the final layer for the newly widened highway, he said.

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White said he does not know how long the punch list will take to complete. The widening project was projected to be complete Aug. 14.

State Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox said last Friday he hoped the project could be completed in a few weeks, noting much of the work on a three-mile section of the project was done.

Between the 19.5-mile marker near Exit 20 and Exit 23 for Marlowe and Falling Waters, W.Va., only a final layer of pavement is needed for the inside northbound and southbound lanes, shoulders and on and off ramps, White said Tuesday.

Northbound traffic in the section was switched Thursday night to the final configuration for two lanes, White said. Southbound traffic was similarly switched over to the new surface two weeks ago.

The widening of I-81 from four to six lanes was awarded as a design-build project to Kokosing Construction Co.

The Columbus, Ohio-based contractor was the low bidder, at $35,643,000, among five companies, highway officials said last summer. At that time, the project was projected to be done in July 2013.

Raleigh Street project

Contractors are also nearing completion on the Raleigh Street project in Martinsburg, White said Tuesday.
State transportation and city officials are working to schedule a grand opening ceremony, he said.

Work on the 1.2-mile “mainline” of the project between West Race Street and Edwin Miller Boulevard is complete, but remaining paving work still must be done on part of old Tavern Road, White said.

A portion of Tavern Road was rerouted as part of the project.

“The contractor will then complete all final grading on the slopes and clean up throughout the project,” White said.

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