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Beckley Widening Project opens in time for holiday traffic

Beckley, WV – (WWNR) A six-lane upgrade to the West Virginia Turnpike near Beckley is open in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Three northbound and three southbound lanes of the Turnpike between mile markers 40 and 48 are officially open to traffic.
 
“This is a tremendous improvement, a much-needed project that had been considered for several years. We’re very thankful for Gov. Justice’s Roads to Prosperity program which made this happen for the thousands of people traveling to and through our state,” said Jeff Miller, Executive Director of the West Virginia Parkways Authority.

The $140 million project was one of the first contracts to be awarded from Gov. Jim Justice’s $2.8 billion Roads to Prosperity highway construction and maintenance program. The widening of the Turnpike to six lanes between mile markers 40 and 48 was first considered by the Parkways Authority in 2006 but was deemed too expensive at the time.

Final paving on the six-lane upgrade will be completed as soon as asphalt plants reopen in the spring of  2022. The Parkways Authority and West Virginia Division of Highways decided to open all lanes to ease congestion during the holiday season.

Widening the Turnpike to six lanes will ease congestion on one of the most heavily traveled parts of the Turnpike.
 
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday following Thanksgiving are typically the busiest days of the year on the West Virginia Turnpike. In 2019 more than 607,000 vehicles went through Turnpike toll booths during the week of Thanksgiving. About 750,000 vehicles are expected to travel the Turnpike between Tuesday, Nov. 23 and Sunday, Nov. 28.
 
Extra toll booth staff, the West Virginia State Police, the Courtesy Patrol, and extra flaggers will be stationed in and near Turnpike toll booths to keep congestion to a minimum during times of heavy traffic. Travelers are advised to try to plan their trips to avoid peak traffic times between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

The Parkways Authority is also ready to deal with bad weather in the coming months, with snowplows and ice clearing equipment already tested and ready to go.