CHARLESTON — A widening project on Interstate 64 from the Merritts Creek exit to the Huntington Mall exit in Barboursville is scheduled to begin next summer.

Gov. Jim Justice and leaders from the West Virginia Department of Transportation announced Friday that the contract for the project has been awarded to Triton Construction Inc. of Nitro. The company was awarded the design-build job for the approximately two-mile section with a bid of $71.7 million, according to a news release from the governor's office.

The project is part of the governor's Roads to Prosperity program, and will double the width of the existing section of interstate from four lanes to eight lanes, according to the release. The scope of work also calls for the replacement of five sets of overpass bridges.

"This widening project along that stretch of I-64 is an important safety project for us," West Virginia Transportation Secretary Byrd White said in the release. "It will really open that area up and help mitigate the congestion that has been present there for years."

The project is scheduled to be completed sometime in late 2022, according to the release.

West Virginia voters approved the $1.6 billion Roads to Prosperity amendment in a statewide vote Oct. 7, 2017. That gave the state the authority to sell general obligation bonds for major road and bridge projects across the state.

Media outlets reported the first round of bonds went to market in June 2018, which brought in $913 million to the state.

On Monday, the state House of Delegates approved two resolutions authorizing the state to move forward with the second round of bonds. The Senate unanimously adopted the two resolutions Tuesday.

Follow reporter Fred Pace at Facebook.com/FredPaceHD and via Twitter

@FredPaceHD.

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