SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A long-talked-about traffic congestion project in Kanawha County is currently on the list of projects expected to be financed by a recent bond sale that’s backed by tolls on the West Virginia Turnpike.

Frank Mullens

The West Virginia Parkways Authority recently sold a total of $423 million in bonds to investors. State law requires the money to be used to finance highway construction projects in the 10 counties close to the Turnpike. One of the projects listed is $19 million to build a new roadway and bridge to ease congestion in the Davis Creek and Corridor G area in Kanawha County.

South Charleston Mayor Frank Mullens said the work will provide another way for motorists to exit the Trace Fork/Dudley Farms shopping areas to Jefferson Road.

“We’ve all done it, when you get to that shopping complex up there you get backed up in that parking lot sometimes and it takes a long time to get out. Now we’ll have another way to get out of there,” Mullens said.

The Parkways Authority has also announced the newly sold bonds will provide funding for a $203 million project for the Pineville-to-Welch section of the Coalfields Expressway along with partial funding for the Beckley Z-Way, improving US 60 between Chelyan and Montgomery, and replacement or rehabilitation of eight different bridges.

Jefferson Road project

There’s another significant project planned for South Charleston in the same area. The state Division of Highways already has the Jefferson Road improvement project under bid but Mullens said he’s seen very little activity.

“We were told back in January by Highways (DOH) that we would see a lot of action there this spring, obviously that didn’t happen,” Mullens said. “I know they’re still working on things. I can assure you I’m as frustrated as anybody in the delay of getting things started.”

Park Place Plaza

Meanwhile, Mullens said fill dirt could moving as early as the end of the month from the West Virginia Regional Technology Park in South Charleston to the site of the new Park Place shopping complex along U.S. Route 60 at the former FMC fly ash pond.

Mullens said there will be 900-thousand cubic yards of fill available from the Tech Park site where work is underway to create a 14-acre site for future construction. Mullens said once they get the dirt, they can begin building at Park Place.

“That’s our last phase to having a pad-ready site to turn over to the private sector,” Mullens said.

He said the developers are “really close to finalizing our first two deals for tenants.”

South Charleston originally planned to use fill dirt created by the Jefferson Road project but Mullens said the city changed its mind when they realized there may be delays in the road construction.

“We kind of anticipated this may happen and when you’re working with all of these national retailers they have these construction timetables in place. We couldn’t keep pushing it back. We had to have a timetable we could control,” Mullens said.

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