BLUEFIELD — Mountaineer football fans won’t be faced with hundreds of orange barrels on Interstate 77 between Princeton and Bluefield on their way to and coming home from Charlotte this weekend.
Contractors with the state Division of Highways are expected to complete a northbound interstate rebuild project by this morning. The southbound portion of the project won’t begin until next week, DOH spokesman Brent Walker said. ‘
“For southbound travelers it’s going to be business as usual. There will be plenty of congestion, but there shouldn’t be any work being done,” Walker said.
There are expected to be thousands of Mountaineer fans heading to Charlotte for the WVU-Tennessee game Saturday afternoon. Some of those fans will leave today, others Saturday morning. A number of the fans will likely return Saturday night. Walker said it’s good news for those travelers in the Bluefield-Princeton area.
“Two lanes (open) north and two lanes south,” he said.
Contractors have been working on the northbound side for a few months. The work has included taking off all of the asphalt down to the concrete base, strengthening the base and putting down several inches of new asphalt. A similar procedure is being used on a handful of other interstate projects across the state.
The mandatory detour for northbound trucks that began shortly after coming through the East River Mountain Tunnel has been lifted and some final punch-list work was taking place on the northbound lanes Thursday afternoon, Walker said.
“They are performing some guardrail installation and just making sure that everything is right and is safe to be able to pull off the barrels,” Walker said.