The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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September 17, 2012

DOH says first phase of New River Parkway on time for completion

HINTON — More than one year ago, on Aug. 10, legislators, the West Virginia Division of Highways and the New River Parkway Authority broke ground on the first phase of the New River Parkway at Hinton.

This first phase is the terminus of the parkway, crossing New River and Madams Creek in Hinton and running along New River Road toward Sandstone.

Once all three phases are complete, the parkway will be a 10-mile, slow-speed, scenic parkway that will connect I-64 to Hinton.

At the time of the groundbreaking, the Division of Highways anticipated the initial phase to be complete this November.

Division of Highways Project Engineer Duane Blevins said phase one is right on schedule.

About 70 percent of the phase is complete and they hope to have layers of asphalt down before the weather turns.

Gutters for the new bridge across New River into Hinton have been erected and the decking is going down, he said.

Blevins also reported that barrier walls down County Rt. 26, New River Road, are almost complete.

The roadway, for about three miles along Madam’s Creek, will be smoother, wider, and vertically and horizontally aligned, which involved constructing large retaining walls on both sides of the road, he explained.

The New River Parkway is more than 25 years in the making and is expected to bring tourism into lesser accessed portions of New River.

Legislation was passed to allow this project in 1985. Original funding came through in 1987, and supplemental funding was acquired in 2003 with Congressman Nick Rahall’s assistance.

Once complete, the parkway will allow guests at Sandstone Visitor’s Center to drive 5 miles to Sandstone Falls, instead of the current 20-minute drive.

— E-mail: splummer@register-herald.com

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