Route 2/I-68 Authority supports amendment
NEW MARTINSVILLE — October’s Road Amendment vote could lead to an estimated $156.5 million for planned road investments along state Route 2, according to members of the Route 2 and I-68 Authority.
“This Resolution of Support for the Road Amendment shows the Authority’s commitment to completing the Route 2 four-lane expansion and finishing the I-68 extension to the Ohio Valley,” said Duane Heck, secretary of the Route 2 and I-68 Authority. “The amendment does not increase taxes and instead levies monies already coming into the Road Fund to make these projects a reality.”
Earlier this year, the West Virginia Department of Transportation announced the “Transportation Investment Program,” which enables nearly $3 billion to be utilized for West Virginia’s road construction and maintenance. The first phase includes an estimated cost of $1.4 billion in statewide road improvements and the second phase authorizes an additional $1.5 billion. Plans to widen parts of Route 2 are included in both phases of the plan.
“Passing the Road Amendment is essential to our goal of expanding Route 2 to a four-lane highway from Parkersburg to Chester,” explained Heck. “The fact that Route 2 is included in the investment program project list shows the importance of this highway to the future of West Virginia.”
A total of four projects for Route 2 improvements are on the list. The first phase includes plans for widening Route 2 by reconstructing the five-lane highway stretch in Wood County. In phase two, the project lists widening Route 2 to four lanes from Proctor to Kent in Wetzel County and from Kent to Franklin through Marshall County. The plans also include re-routing and widening the path that Route 2 takes through New Cumberland in Hancock County.
“This amendment will be a driver of infrastructure development and improvements in our region and state,” stressed Heck. “Every dollar spent on roads creates more economic opportunity and more jobs.”
The Authority is charged with promoting the expansion of West Virginia Route 2 to a modern, four-lane highway from Parkersburg to Chester. The longest continuous stretch of Route 2 that is four-lanes is a 24-mile section from I-70 south into Marshall County.