If you're headed from Bridgeport to Grafton, or vice versa, drivers should allot themselves a little extra time on Route 50, as the Division of Highways enters into another week of its paving project.
Work began three weeks ago on the three-mile stretch, which starts in Harrison County, near the Route 76 intersection, and ends just before Belgium in Taylor County. The project is funded both federally and through the state.
"There is a small skip on either side of County Route 3. That work was done last year, so we're not repaving that," said Jason Nelson, construction engineer for District 4 of the Division of Highways. He said work also includes a two-foot widening phase on each side of the road.
"The lanes themselves will remain at the standard 12-foot width, but we're giving a little extra recovery area on the shoulder," said Nelson.
It's those improvements that will hopefully be worth the wait for drivers like Morgan McCutchan.
"I've seen it backed up over an hour," said McCutchan.
McCutchan works at Baker Hughes Incorporated, an oil and gas service company located right on Route 50.
"We'll see the vehicles backed up here all the way to our shop and down the hill. We have a hard time sometimes getting our larger vehicles out and making the turn, with all the traffic backed up," said McCutchan.
Nelson said the contractor won't know which stretch his crews will be paving until they get on site every day and assess the situation.
"We have asked the contractor to be a little bit more aware of certain heavy times during the day, and to just be aware that school is back in session. There's no guarantees, but at least he's aware of it," said Nelson.
McCutchan and his coworkers aren't taking any chances.
"We end up usually diverting around, going back into Bridgeport and coming around 79 in order to detour it. In order to get things done, we just pretty much have to bypass it," said McCutchan.
The DOH said the paving should wrap up by the end of September, but that unforeseen delays could take the project into October.