CAMP CREEK – Plans are now in place to demolish and rebuild the Bluestone Travel Plaza along the Mercer County section of the West Virginia Turnpike and the travel plaza in Beckley.
Bluestone and Beckley travel plazas will close from 1 February 2023, to begin demolition and redevelopment of the site. Both interchanges will be rebuilt from the ground up, West Virginia Turnpike Authority officials said recently. The new travel plazas are expected to be completed by the end of 2024.
“Each year 3.3 million people, twice the population of West Virginia, travel on the West Virginia Turnpike,” said Governor Jim Justice. “This is our chance to show them Almost Heaven, West Virginia. So we better not screw it up, and now we’ll have the best facilities that showcase all that West Virginia has to offer. Because we want all 3.3 million people to leave with a positive image of our great state. So I am incredibly proud to introduce these new squares and look forward to breaking ground on the project next year.”
In May, the Parkways Authority approved spending $152 million spread over three fiscal years to renovate the turnpike’s travel plazas. The plans were based on the results of a 2021 survey of tour travelers.
“This is another example of Gov. Justice’s vision to promote West Virginia nationally,” said West Virginia Parkways Authority Executive Director Jeff Miller. “By the end of 2024, drivers along the West Virginia Turnpike will be able to enjoy new, modern travel plazas that will provide the public with a great service experience and a safe area to rest, all while enjoying the expanded food offerings and refueling before heading back. on the road.”
Miller later said renovation plans call for maintenance of fueling and restroom facilities, and tractor-trailer parking, at both the Bluestone and Beckley travel plazas while the project is underway.
With more than 3,400 respondents, the survey results led the Parkways Authority to realize that the toll plazas were much more than a quick break for the millions of visitors who stop at them, Turnpike Authority officials said. For some guests, stopping at a fairground was part of a family tradition with some visitors recalling the design of the 1950s “Glass House.” For others, it was an opportunity to learn more about our state and purchase authentic West Virginia crafts and products at tourist information centers. Truck drivers look to travel squares for safe and secure parking.
Customers of the travel plaza also pointed out where the existing facilities were lacking. Recreational travelers drawn to West Virginia’s landscapes wanted new facilities that embrace the state’s “wild and wonderful” terrain and provide a sense of always being in touch with nature, Turnpike Authority officials said. . Commuters and other travelers wanted drive-thru service and comfortable, quiet areas to sit for work and relaxation. Over 50 percent of commercial drivers felt there was a significant or severe shortage of truck parking. All respondents wanted improved toilets.
The redeveloped travel plazas will offer expanded food concepts, a 24/7 Mountain State Market convenience store, outdoor dining options, expanded tractor-trailer and passenger vehicle parking, EV (electric vehicle) charging stations, parking options fuel stations for vehicles and tractor-trailers, picnic areas and pet friendly areas. The Beckley Travel Plaza will offer a drive-thru, added restroom facilities and bus parking, and will enhance and highlight the Parkways Authority’s Tourist Information Centers.
— Contact Greg Jordan at email@example.com
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