Gov. Jim Justice, U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, and U.S. Congresswoman Carol Miller joined with leaders in the Federal Highway Administration and the West Virginia Department of Transportation for the grand opening of the final 4-lane section of U.S. Route 35 in a ceremony conducted in Putnam County near the Buffalo Bridge on Thursday, November 11. The highway is now 4-lane for its entire 417 miles between Michigan City, Indiana and Scott Depot. The upgrade of U.S. 35 to four lanes has been an ongoing project since the collapse of the Silver Bridge over the Ohio River at Point Pleasant in 1968. Before the bridge fell, U.S. 35 carried traffic through Mason and Putnam counties on what is now State Route 62.
“Route 35 has been a major infrastructure priority for me since I was first elected to the House of Representatives, so I’m elated to see it finally come to completion,” Senator Capito said. “This project is the culmination of years of federal, state, and local teamwork.”
Senator Capito has personally secured $105 million in congressionally directed spending for the Route 35 project and supported well over $500 million in federal highway funding for the project. The final stretch of Route 35 includes eight new bridges, a new interchange, and 73,568 tons of asphalt.
Over the last 36 months, West Virginia has received 20 times more discretionary highway funds than it did during the prior five years. That funding includes a $20 million discretionary grant for widening the I-64 Nitro-St. Albans Bridge.
“What you see here today is a tremendous achievement,” Gov. Justice said. “I thank everybody that put into licks to make this a reality; to make all this goodness happen.”
The grand opening ceremony featured musical performances by General Admission, the Winfield High School Show Choir; the Black Knight Marching Band from Point Pleasant High School; and the Marching Generals from Winfield High School.