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Groundbreaking set for final section of U.S. 35

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — After years of uncertainty, plans to build the last remaining four-lane section of U.S. 35 are under way.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., will be among elected officials attending a groundbreaking ceremony at 2 p.m. today to commend the 14.6-mile grade and drain project, marking the completion of the highway’s expansion. Construction of the four-lane road would begin along the existing U.S. 35 near W.Va. 869 at the Buffalo Bridge and extend north into Mason County, ending near County Route 40. The new route will run about a quarter-mile west of W.Va. 817, according to Brent Walker, communications specialist with the West Virginia Department of Transportation.

A press release from the Division of Highways announced in June that Lexington, Kentucky-based Bizzack Construction LLC was the selected contractor for the project, with a winning bid of $174.5 million.

Putnam County Commissioner Andy Skidmore expressed support for the project at Tuesday’s commission meeting.

“It will allow more development to come into Putnam and this area,” Skidmore said, noting the placement of the Putnam Business Park in Fraziers Bottom, which is situated along an upgraded section of U.S. 35. “As you create jobs and create opportunities, maybe we’ll see a residential impact as well.”

But some who live near the planned route have concerns about how existing roads will be affected…

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