Hancock commissioners seeking help for state Route 2 project

NEW CUMBERLAND — With the passage of the Roads to Prosperity amendment in last month’s special election, Hancock County commissioners now are seeking help from the West Virginia Department of Transportation’s Division of Highways for information and help on the state Route 2 project going through the city.

The commissioners on Thursday issued a letter be sent to the Department of Transportation Secretary Tom Smith asking for an update on the environmental study for the project and a tentative release date for the bond funds.

The project would move and widen Route 2 through the city, with the improvements to cost approximately $11 million.

Commissioner Jeff Davis said, in the letter, the project is needed due to the poor condition of the roads and sidewalks.

“As we expressed in previous correspondences and meetings, the current roadway is geometrically deficient for the passage of trucks and is unsafe for pedestrians which utilize the adjacent sidewalk,” Davis said. “The proposed project would make the roadway safer for our citizens, including the traveling public for more efficient freight traffic.”

Commissioners Joe Barnabei and Paul Cowey also signed the letter, and copies will be sent to the county’s delegates, the Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission, the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle and the governor’s office.

Meanwhile, in his report, Sheriff Ralph Fletcher informed the commission the sheriff’s department was awarded the Community Traffic Safety Platinum Award by AAA for “outstanding service, dedication and the significant impact made by the improving the quality of life through traffic programming.”

The award was presented during a meeting in Wheeling held prior to the commission meeting.

According to Fletcher, AAA reviewed information and results from the department’s programs and awarded the sheriff’s department based on its performance.

“So what they’ve done is look at three to five years of programs that we’ve put together and how it’s been sustained,” Fletcher said. “They make a judgment and we were able to impress somebody enough to get a platinum award.”

Fletcher noted the county’s radar programs and other safety-related programs were taken into consideration for the department’s award.

Fletcher also reported the sheriff’s department is participating in No Shave November to raise cancer awareness. Proceeds from the sheriff’s office’s participation will go toward research at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Each officer has to raise a minimum of $100 in order to “buy in” to not shave for a month, the sheriff noted. He added the department has raised $14,000 toward the cancer research during the past three years and hopes to reach this year’s goal of $7,000.

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