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Excavation continues for Moccasin Gap interchange

CLIFFORD JEFFERY • Jan 22, 2007 at 9:15 AM

Excavation work continues Monday on the Moccasin Gap interchange near the intersection of Wadlow Gap Highway and Bristol Highway in Weber City. Photo by David Grace.


WEBER CITY - Seven months into a project designed to improve traffic flow among Highways 23, 58 and 224, construction workers are almost halfway through excavation.

Chad McMurray, Virginia Department of Transportation construction engineer, said the Moccasin Gap interchange is on track for completion in July 2008.

Elk Knob Inc. of Pennington Gap is the contractor on the $6.6 million project.

The Elk Knob workers have moved about 100,000 cubic yards of earth at $1.3 million.

That is about half of the excavating that needs to be done, McMurray said.

"They are working the big main cut, and they've moved about half the yardage on that. The bulk of the work they will do until March or April will be out of traffic. Sometime in the spring, work will start that will impact traffic on 23, 224 and 58," he said.

Crews are also starting work on the bridge that will span Moccasin Creek.

It will be about 120 feet long. Precast concrete beams are being made in Harrisonburg for the bridge. They should arrive with escorts in March. Cranes will place the beams, and the rest of the bridge should be completed by late summer, McMurray said.

As work increases this spring, there will be lane closures and one-way traffic, McMurray said. But there shouldn't be any detours.

McMurray said residents should begin to see work increasing on 23 from the light up past the Food City entrance.

"Activity there will pick up, and activity on 58 will be intermittent with interruptions to traffic," he said.

While this winter's warmer-than-average weather has helped some, McMurray said a lot of the excavation work involves moving rock, which is more affected by wet weather than cold.

"Having drier weather has helped more with that aspect," he said.

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