Justice suspends Turnpike work, lowers state park prices as part of Florence response

CHARLESTON — The orange cones will be picked up on Interstate 77 until after Hurricane Florence is over and it’s going to be cheaper to stay in state parks through next Tuesday.

Both moves announced Tuesday by Gov. Jim Justice as part of West Virginia’s State of Preparedness.

Justice directed the state Division of Highways and state Parkways Authority Tuesday to notify contractors doing work northbound on Interstate 77, the West Virginia Turnpike, between the state line in Mercer County and Charleston to suspend their work.

“We need to allow our traffic to flow freely as folks travel to safer areas and to ensure that relief supplies reach their needed locations as quickly as possible,” Justice said in a statement released by his office.

Justice has also given special hauling authorization for overweight and oversized vehicles delivering equipment and supplies associated with Florence response.

The Parkways Authority has been ordered by Justice to schedule extra personnel to keep all northbound tollbooths open at the three toll plazas.

Traffic was backed up for miles Tuesday afternoon on the Turnpike near the Ghent exit for bridge deck work. The issue will be resolved by noon Wednesday, state officials said.

According to a news release, drivers were being detoured to U.S. 460 East to U.S. 219 North to Interstate 64 West beginning at exit 9 of Interstate 77.

Justice has also announced a 55-percent discount on all rooms, cabins and campsites at state parks through next Tuesday, Sept. 18.

“We want to make sure that those needing to evacuate will have an affordable place to stay,” Justice said.

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