Support grows for new exit on Interstate 79

File image.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Governor Jim Justice has placed his full support behind the proposed Harmony Grove interchange off I-79 that would serve the Morgantown Industrial Park. A 2019 economic study done by WVU said the facility has a $1.1 billion impact on the state economy.

When the project is complete, the park will have rail, barge and interstate access, according to Monongalia County Commission President Tom Bloom.

“This is a fantastic day, not only for Monongalia County, but for the region and economically,” Bloom said. “This is a game changer for Monongalia County.”

This announcement paves the way for the addition of Mountaintop Foods to the park. Unconfirmed reports indicate they plan to build a 300,000-square foot facility that will employ up to 250 people. The business is expected to operate 24-hours a day and operate up to 70 trucks a day in and out of the park.

The estimated cost of the project is about $41 million. The state and federal share would be about $10 million with the balance paid back over time from the Morgantown Industrial Park TIF.

“What this basically does is move the project forward,” Bloom said. “Getting the state and federal funds together.”

The most recent step is the Interchange Justification Report. That report is under review by the developer, Enroute Properties ,consultant and the DOH. Additionally, the project was moved up the priority list by the Morgantown Metropolitan Planning Organization.

“With the infrastructure bill and Senatore Capito and the governor saying it’s a priority, we know it’s moving forward and even quicker than what we