Gateway Connector opens today

Contractors erected an exit sign, pictured here on the right, above northbound Interstate 79 Tuesday directing traffic to downtown Fairmont as part of the final stages of East Side’s long-awaited Fairmont Gateway Connector Highway. The interchange is set to open at 7 a.m. today, with an official grand opening ceremony planned for the near future.

After nearly two decades of planning and construction, the Fairmont Gateway Connector Highway on the city’s East Side is scheduled to officially open to traffic at 7 a.m. today.

“We’re excited,” Division of Highways (DOH) District 4 area construction engineer Danny Donlin said of the opening of this long-awaited, 1.5-mile, four-lane highway connecting downtown Fairmont with Interstate 79.

For months, Donlin said crews from contractor Kanawha Stone Co. have been working diligently through rain, shine and snow to meet the end-of-the-year deadline that DOH officials had set.

“Two and a half months ago we were kind of unsure if we were going to be able to make it this year,” Donlin said Tuesday. “We had the contractor accelerate his work with additional hours Friday and Saturday. The goal was to finish before the end of the year.”

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