I-77 construction causes concern for first responders - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

I-77 construction causes concern for first responders

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MERCER COUNTY, WV (WVVA) -

With road work set to begin on Thursday on I-77 between mile markers one and nine, members of the Princeton and Bluefield communities can expect to see heavier traffic. That's because there will initially only be one lane open for cars going northbound on that stretch of the interstate, and two lanes will be open going southbound. 

However, all truckers will be re-routed at exit one, where they will have to go on route 460 and hop on John Nash Blvd. from there. 

This has caused first responders in the area to be concerned, not only because of the increased traffic, but also because of some of the products that those big rig trucks will bring with them. 

"One of our biggest concerns, and I haven't really heard it touched on yet, is the amount of potential hazardous materials that's in these freight trucks that typically would be out on the interstate. That's going to diverted onto 460, thus coming through the Green Valley, Bluefield and Princeton area," said Captain Keith Gunnoe of the Princeton City Fire Department. 

First responders are also concerned with reaching emergency situations in a speedy fashion. 

"If we have accidents on 77, are we best to go down south or will you guys have turn-arounds for us? Because there are some areas where we have to go a long way to turn around," said Stacey Hicks of the Princeton Rescue Squad. 

To keep things as safe as possible, police officers will be set along the construction zones to make sure that the conditions for the road workers are as safe as possible. Law enforcement urges drivers to pay attention to the reduced speeds. 

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