November 25 – CAMP CREEK – Plans are now in place to demolish and rebuild the Bluestone Travel Plaza along the Mercer County portion of the West Virginia Turnpike and the Travel Plaza in Beckley.
The Bluestone and Beckley travel sites will be closed effective February 1, 2023 to begin demolition and site rehabilitation. Both travel sites will be rebuilt from the ground up, West Virginia Turnpike Authority officials said recently. The new travel places should be completed by the end of 2024.
“Each year, 3.3 million people, twice the population of West Virginia, ride the West Virginia Turnpike,” said Gov. Jim Justice. “This is our chance to show them almost heaven in West Virginia. So let’s not screw it up, and now we’re going to have the best facilities that showcase everything West Virginia has to offer. Because we all 3.3 million people want to leave a positive image of our great state. So I’m incredibly proud to present these new courses and I can’t wait to break ground on the project next year.”
In May, the Parkways Authority approved spending of $152 million over three fiscal years to redesign the Turnpike’s traffic areas. The plans were based on the results of a 2021 survey of Turnpike travelers.
“This is another example of Gov. Justice to promote West Virginia to the nation,” said Jeff Miller, executive director of the West Virginia Parkways Authority. “By the end of 2024, motorists will enjoy new, modern travel spots along the West Virginia Turnpike that offer the public a wonderful service experience and a safe area to rest, while also enjoying expanded dining options and refueling before returning en route.”
Miller later said the renovation plans include maintaining fuel and toilet facilities and tractor-trailer parking at both the Bluestone and Beckley touring grounds while the project is underway.
With over 3,400 respondents, the poll results led the Parkways Authority to recognize that the traffic plazas were far more than a brief respite for the millions of visitors who stop there, Turnpike Authority officials said. For some guests, stopping at a travel place was part of a family tradition, with some visitors recalling the 1950s “glass house” design. For others, it was an opportunity to learn more about our state and shop for authentic West Virginia crafts and products at the Tourist Information Centers. Truck drivers look for safe parking spaces at the travel locations.
Travel Plaza’s customers also identified where existing facilities were inadequate. Vacationers, drawn to West Virginia’s scenery, 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-through service and comfortable, quiet seating areas to work and relax. Over 50 percent of commercial drivers felt there was a significant or serious shortage of truck parking. All respondents wished for improved toilets.
The redesigned travel spaces feature expanded food concepts, a 24-hour Mountain State Market convenience store, outdoor dining, expanded truck and passenger car parking, electric vehicle charging stations, separate vehicle and truck fueling options, picnic areas and pet relief areas. The Beckley Travel Plaza will provide a drive through, more restrooms and bus parking, as well as enhancing and highlighting the Parkways Authority’s tourist information centers.
— Contact Greg Jordan at [email protected]
Contact Greg Jordan at [email protected]