Unique aspects of the project include the construction of a roundabout and active developer pad grading within proj
A new interchange along I-79 near Morgantown, W.Va., is nearing completion. The project is under the direction of the West Virginia Division of Highways.
The $22 million project consists of providing a new interchange on I-79 approximately halfway between I-79, at Exit 152 — U.S. 19 Westover/Morgantown (Granville) and I-79, Exit 155 – WV 7 West Virginia University (Star City/Osage/WVU Football Stadium) exits.
The project will tie the interchange into two new frontage roads, connecting a relocated County Route 46/3 to the west and an extension of University Town Centre Drive to the east of I-79 including the new proposed WVU Athletic Facilities.
It is designed to improve access to a growing area. The three existing I-79 interchanges in Morgantown currently are congested during peak hours, and traffic volumes are expected to increase due to planned development in the surrounding area. Adding a fourth interchange will reportedly help alleviate congestion, reduce traffic conflicts, and improve safety and access to local roads.
The original contact amount was $22.4 million. Mountaineer Contractors Inc. is the prime contractor.
According to Michael A. Neely, P.E., of Mountaineer Contractors, Inc., the project is a design-build project with many subcontractors to coordinate on an accelerated schedule.
“The design work coordination along with the owner review periods also provided challenges,” he said. “Due to the accelerated schedule, construction was ongoing while the final engineering designs and construction documents were being prepared. At the time of project award the Army Corps Permit for the 1,400 ft. (426.72 m) long 7 ft. by7 ft. (2.1 by 2.1 m) box culvert was still pending and the earthwork on the western side of the interstate was held up for several months until the permit was approved. “
Neely noted that the project also included extensions of both sides of a tunnel crossing under the interstate to accommodate the added ramps, and a reinforced soil slope wall was required on a portion of one of the ramps due to limited right-of-way.
Unique aspects of the project include the construction of a roundabout and active developer pad grading within project limits.
The project included 1.1 million cu. yds. (841,010 cu m) of earthwork, 28,000 tons (25,401 t) of asphalt, 2.75 mi. (4.43 km) of ramp and roadway construction, a 280 ft. (85.34 m) long by 85 ft. (26 m) wide interstate overpass bridge, and a 1,400 ft. long 7 ft. by 7 ft. box culvert.
Major equipment used on the job includes Caterpillar 320, 345 and 390 excavators; Komatsu PC 200, 300 and 390 excavators; Hitachi EH100 off-road trucks; Volvo A40 off-road trucks; Caterpillar D10, D8 and D6 dozers; and a Metso LT106 crusher.
Major subcontractors include AECOM, design engineer; Bayliss and Ramey, lighting and traffic signal; Beckley Drilling and Blasting, rock blasting; Bilco Construction, bridge construction; Bunn Enterprises, underdrain installation; CTL Engineering, geotechnical engineer; Jim Construction, box culvert and tunnel extensions; Highway Safety, temporary traffic control and pavement markings; Instant Growth Hydroseeding, temporary and permanent seeding; Long Fence, right-of-way fencing; Ogelsby Construction, curb and gutter and sidewalks; and PDK Construction, signing and guardrail.
The interchange received the West Virginia Department of Transportation's (WVDOT) 2014 Engineering Excellence Award in the Large Roadway Category.