Federal Highway Deputy Administrator Greg Nadeau joined West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and other state and local officials this week for the opening of the state's final segment of the Mon/Fayette Expressway.
"The Mon/Fayette Expressway provides an important transportation link between Morgantown and Pittsburgh and will continue to spur economic growth in Fayette and Washington counties for years to come," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
The Mon/Fayette Expressway provides safer and faster travel options for drivers on I-68 between Morgantown and the Pennsylvania state line, particularly commercial vehicles that had, until recently, been forced to use smaller arteries in the area, such as S.R. 51 and U.S. 40.
Construction on various parts of the 3.85-mile-long section in West Virginia has been under way for more than a decade. Work on the ARRA-funded portion began in August 2009, closing the final gap with an interchange connection to I-68. When the final segment connecting Uniontown and Brownsville, Pa., is completed in 2012, the entire route will offer drivers 57 continuous miles of four-lane expressway between Morgantown and Pittsburgh.
"By improving traffic safety and efficiency, the Mon/Fayette Expressway is the foundation of a stronger economic future for this region," said Nadeau. "On behalf of the thousands of motorists who depend on this route each day, we appreciate the hard work that went into this project."
The project relied on $13.4 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which allowed the project to open to traffic a year earlier than expected. Nearly $211 million available to West Virginia from the Recovery Act helped the state fund a total of 155 road and bridge improvement projects, of which all but 20 are completed.