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State Route 7 may reopen Friday

Two weeks after several giant boulders fell on State Route 7, the Ohio Department of Transportation said it hopes to have the westbound lanes open on Friday.

On Feb. 26, a massive rockslide closed State Route 7 between the U.S. 52 interchange and State Route 527 at Chesapeake. The eastbound lanes were reopened the next day, but the westbound lanes remained closed.

To speed up efforts to restore the route, ODOT District 9 issued an emergency contract with DGM, Inc. to clear the rock and debris, scale the adjacent hillside to remove additional loose rock and repair the damaged pavement.

And crews had to move a lot of rock to get the roadway open again.

“ODOT crews hauled away 268 truckloads of rock,” said Kathleen Fuller, ODOT District 9 spokesperson, “Which, in all, weighed approximately 2,144 tons and came in at 1,586 cubic yards.”

The rock was transported to the ODOT building in the Ironton Industrial Park.

“We hold it there, and typically, what we have done with the larger rocks like that, is to use it for fill on other projects,” Fuller said. “As long as the rock is good, we will use it somewhere on the roads.”

That’s what ODOT did with the boulder that fell near the twin bridges three years ago.

“Ultimately, it’s a money saver,” she said.

With the rock removed and scaling completed, the contractors are placing concrete, striping and guardrail this week, and it is anticipated that State Route 7 West will be open to traffic on Friday.

The westbound lanes of the route remain closed until all work has been completed, so motorists will continue to be detoured by way of either the 31st Street Bridge or the 6th Street Bridge and I-64 in Huntington, West Virginia to the 17th Street Bridge and U.S. 52.