PUTNAM COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – The project to widen the Nitro-St. Albans Bridge reached a new milestone on Friday with its ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“[We’re] just proud as we can be to be at the forefront of really an economic boom for the state of West Virginia and to have a structure like this for our citizens and to take care of this congestion,” said Jimmy Wriston, Secretary of Transportation. “It’s just fantastic. There’s no real words to describe it.” 

Westbound traffic will move onto the new “Nitro World War I Memorial Bridge,” starting Saturday, Oct. 29. Then, within two weeks, eastbound traffic will also be traveling across the bridge.

The project cost $224 million and was funded through the state’s “Road to Prosperity” program. Officials said the project, which is the state’s second largest in terms of dollars, will alleviate a major “bottleneck” on I-64.

“If it’s anywhere after 4’oclock then I usually avoid this,” said Tonya Wells in reference to the I-64 bridge. “I don’t mind the extra time if I can keep my stress down, but if this picks up like it’s supposed to then I’m sure I will take it a little bit more often.”

Even though it’s a big day, Wriston said their work isn’t done yet. Once traffic is completely switched over to the new bridge, they’ll start demolishing the old bridge next to it and replacing that one.

Those who travel the bridge frequently say they can’t wait until the project is complete.

“I can’t wait for that. It’s going to make my travel a whole lot easier because … with the bottleneck, it makes everything tight,” said Charles Webb. “I’ll be driving on through and making my trip in no time.”

According to Wriston, the entire project is expected to be fully completed by early 2025.