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Florence evacuations and construction causing major congestion on the WV Turnpike

A look at traffic at the 26 mile marker Tuesday night near Flat Top on I-77 North, from WV511.org.

The West Virginia Turnpike heading North is a mess. Construction on I-77 plus heavier traffic from Hurricane Florence evacuees, are adding up to hours of delays and traffic at a near stand-still.

One woman who was traveling from the Myrtle Beach area, home to Charleston, says it took her several hours to move a few miles. Another woman who lives in Belle and was coming home from Pigeon Forge had a similar story, saying she only moved a few miles in several hours.

The WV DOT is alerting drivers of an alternate route -- but it is also backed up. Drivers on I-77NB near Princeton are being detoured off exit 9, to follow U.S. 460 East to U.S 219 North. Take U.S. 219 North to Interstate 64W. Follow I-64W to I-77N.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice directed the state Department of Transportation to notify contractors to suspend construction work on Interstate 77 northbound from the state line to Charleston. But right now, the lanes are still closed.

As part of the preparation for the fallout from Hurricane Florence, the governor also issued a blanket special hauling authorization exclusively for overweight and oversized vehicles and loads delivering relief supplies.

“We need to allow our traffic to flow freely as folks travel to safer areas and to ensure that relief supplies reach their needed locations as quickly as possible,” Justice said.

The governor has also ordered the Parkways Authority to schedule extra personnel to keep all northbound toll booths open on the Turnpike.

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