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Route 2 opinions due next week

Officials weigh options for road improvements

NEW CUMBERLAND — One area legislator is reminding residents there still is time to submit their thoughts on a series of road improvement proposals for a section of state Route 2 in New Cumberland.

Delegate Randy Swartzmiller, D-Hancock, noted the deadline for comments to the West Virginia Division of Highways is Oct. 17.

Five alternatives have been proposed for the project, which look at aleviating traffic congestion through portions of New Cumberland.

“The New Cumberland bypass project is currently in what is referred to as a Planning Study. I, along with others, recently met in Charleston with Mr. Jimmy Wriston, WVDOH P.E. deputy secretary commissioner,” Swartzmiller said. “I asked him ‘what is one of the biggest factors in selecting which route they would choose through New Cumberland?’ He replied by saying that public feedback from the citizens would carry the most weight.”

The proposed alternatives for the project are:

• Alternative 1: Improve the 90-degree turns by widening the existing alignment, including intersection improvements at Madison and Chester streets, estimated to cost $3.9 million;

• Alternative 2: Improve the 90-degree turns by shifting the road between them approximately 70 feet south, also improving the Madison and Chester streets intersection, at $4.2 million;

• Alternative 3: Similar to Alternative 1, but improving the inside radius at the intersection of Madison and Chester streets, at $4.9 million;

• Alternative 4: Improve the 90-degree turns by creating a short bypass of the existing road, beginning near Hardin Run, parallel to the railroad tracks and ending on Ridge Avenue near the library, at $6.9 million;

• Alternative 5A: Create new routing for Route 2 through New Cumberland, beginning at the intersection of Chestnut and Madison streets, running closer to the Ohio River generally following South Chestnut Street, Pottery Road and Industrial Park Road to Ridge Avenue, at $15.9 million.

There also is an option to take no action.

Submissions may be sent by mail to R.J. Scites, P.E., Director, Engineering Division, West Virginia Department of Transportation, 1334 Smith St., Charleston, WV 25301, by email to Sondra.L.Mullins@wv.gov, or online at http://transportation.wv.gov/comments/Pages/default.aspx.

Comment forms also are available in the lobby of the Hancock County Courthouse. Swartzmiller said residents who complete and return the form to the courthouse by Oct. 16 will have it delivered to WVDOH officials by the county commissioners.

The project was among those listed for funding under the Roads to Prosperity program, bonds for which were approved by West Virginia voters in 2017.

“The governor promised at least $11 million toward the New Cumberland bypass project and I believe we need to hold him accountable in ensuring that New Cumberland receives a route that is safe for the traveling public, a route that can handle the future growth within the county and deals with the three objectives of the original study, which were: 1. Remove the heavy traffic off of Ridge Avenue. 2. Remove the heavy traffic off of a narrow Station Hill. 3. Remove the S-turns in the downtown area,” Swartzmiller said.

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