This is an historic year for our nation’s highway system. We just celebrated the 55th anniversary of the Interstate Highway System, and we’re marking the bicentennial of our nation’s first road this year.
But our highway system is always changing as we improve our roads and bridges to meet new and evolving demands. And we’re not done building yet.
Yesterday, Federal Highway Deputy Administrator Greg Nadeau traveled to Morgantown, West Virginia to join Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and other state and local officials for the opening of the final segment of the Mon/Fayette Expressway. This new highway is a critical link between Morgantown and Pittsburgh, and it's poised to deliver big benefits to the people and communities along its route.
It provides safer and faster travel options for drivers on I-68 between Morgantown and the Pennsylvania state line--particularly commercial vehicles that had, until recently, been forced to use smaller arteries in the area, such as S.R. 51 and U.S. 40. And because it will help ease congestion and improve transportation access, it promises to spur economic growth in Fayette and Washington counties for years to come.
This project received all of its funding--more than $13 million--from the Recovery Act. That money not only allowed the expressway to open to traffic a year earlier than expected, but helped put more than 300 people to work over the course of its construction. That’s a lot of jobs.
I know this day has been a long time coming. People have talked for decades about an expressway through this important corridor that would offer a safe and efficient way to move people and goods.
And with the opening of this segment of the Mon/Fayette Expressway, there's no doubt that we're opening an era of safer, less congested travel for motorists and commercial traffic in West Virginia.