Route 22, other projects continue

State highway officials continue to ask for drivers’ patience as work to repair and pave sections of U.S. Route 22 and the Veterans Memorial Bridge continues.

Dan Sikora, West Virginia Division of Highways district director of construction, said he and others involved with the project are hopeful ramp closings between Steubenville, Weirton and Follansbee will be a thing of the past.

The closings have resulted in some traffic jams, particularly south of the Market Street Bridge, which many drivers have used as an alternate route.

Sikora said if a ramp must be closed, the WVDOH will announce it, as it had when the ramp from the northbound lane of state Route 2 to Route 22 was closed last week. But work along Route 22 won’t be completed until late September, so he asks drivers to be patient and cautious when traveling it.

Orange cones and barrels separating traffic from work areas have given drivers short spaces in which to enter or exit the flow of traffic from on- or off-ramps. This has caused some rear-end collisions by drivers failing to stop behind other stopped vehicles.

Sikora urges drivers to slow as they enter work zones and focus their attention on road conditions around them and not on cell phones or other distractions.

He added drivers should prepare for delays at peak traffic times and choose alternate routes when possible.

Sikora said crews have been working around the clock for two months to replace damaged joints along the bridge and seal cracked areas. But he said crews will need daylight to safely operate equipment used to mill sections of the roadway to be re-paved.

Begun in April, the work is part of a $2.3 million project involving Carl Kelly Paving of Rayland, Ohio, and various subcontractors.

Elsewhere along U.S. Route 22, crews with Swank Construction of New Kensington, Pa., continue to build the new Colliers Way bridge. The old bridge has been removed and two-way traffic has been established on the completed half of the span, while crews work on the foundation and abutments for the other half, Sikora said.

The $6.5 million project is slated for completion later this fall. Built in 1966, the old Colliers Way Bridge had deteriorated with age. It is part of the primary route to Weirton Medical Center.

Also in Weirton, crews have been pouring concrete for sidewalks and curbs along Pennsylvania Avenue between 23rd and 11th streets as part of a $4.5 million paving project. James White Construction of Weirton is the contractor for the project, which also involves relocation of water and sewer lines beneath it.

In Newell, crews with Ohio-West Virginia Excavating of Powhatan Point have been building a wall along state Route 2 south of the Ergon plant to block debris from the adjacent hillside. The $1.3 million project also includes the addition of lighting along the highway and a left turn lane for large trucks entering the plant.

Sikora was asked about traffic signals at 27th and 16th streets in Wellsburg set to be coordinated with a new signal installed at 22nd Street to accommodate large trucks entering Eagle Manufacturing’s warehouse facilities there. He said the signals haven’t yet been coordinated and officials are working to correct a problem with a pedestrian signal at 16th Street that has been sticking.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com)