SOUTH CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — South Charleston Leaders are pushing back on claims that they are dragging their feet on the long-awaited Jefferson connector. The construction project came to a halt last week.

“At the end of the day, I think we all are on the same side as we want to get this thing done and get it done as quickly and efficiently as possible,” said Mayor Frank Mullens, City of South Charleston.

Mullens says the city of South Charleston and the West Virginia Division of Highways had an original agreement to take waste material from the Jefferson Road project to the city’s fly ash pond project for an open-air shopping complex.

“There was a little bit of a change in that. The contractor would rather have taken it somewhere else. A lot of issues. One thing was crossing the railroad tracks with offroad trucks and permits from CSX, and all these kinds of things,” said Mullens.

According to Mullens, a new contract agreement was then made between the two a few months ago to move the waste dump site.

“The other was they really weren’t going to have enough fill for us anyways. The highways contacted us and asked if we would mind changing the original agreement with them to give Kokosing the opportunity to take the fill elsewhere. Which we agreed to do with them because we already found an alternate place to get our fill from. It really worked out for everybody.” said Mullens.

The city of South Charleston says they have no say on when construction will stop and pick up again. It is up to the Division of Highways.

“That didn’t cause any delays for anyone. It was just an agreement that needed to be made that was in the best interest of both parties, so they reached out to us. They initially asked us to change it and we were agreeable to that, and I thought everybody was happy,” said Mullens.

Jason Foster, Chief Engineer of Development with West Virginia Division of Highways says you can expect two or three more seasons of construction before this project is complete.