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Ihlenfeld urges action on local road project

Ihlenfeld

NEW CUMBERLAND — Local legislators continue to push for action on a long-proposed road project in Hancock County.

Last week, state Sen. William Ihlenfeld, D-Wheeling, wrote to Byrd White, secretary of the West Virginia Department of Transportation concerning the improvement project slated for portions of state Route 2 in New Cumberland.

“We learned this week that the public overwhelmingly supports Alternative 5A as the path to be taken,” Ihlenfeld wrote. “Pursuing this option would make the bottleneck go away, keep heavy truck traffic off the ridge and open the northern part of the county to large freight, allowing for new industries to locate there. It’s clear that the citizens see the safety and economic benefits that this option will bring.”

The project has been proposed as a way to remove heavy traffic from Ridge Avenue in the city, as well as from Station Hill, and to remove the S-turns in the downtown area.

Alternative 5A was one of six proposals offered by the WVDOT for the project. With a proposed cost of $15.9 million, the scope would include the creation of 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.

All of the alternatives were presented to the public for feedback Sept. 17 as part of an informational workshop held at the John D. Rockefeller IV Career Center. A public comment period then was held until Oct. 17. The other alternatives ranged in cost from $4 million to $7 million.

Funding for the project was to be set aside as part of the Roads to Prosperity program proposed by Gov. Jim Justice and approved by voters in 2017.

“The public meeting has been held, the environmental work performed and the money is on the books,” Ihlenfeld wrote. “Business leaders believe that the re-routing of Route 2 will lead to hundreds of millions of dollars in new investment. Moreover, in 2017, Governor Justice promised that this work would be done. The citizens of Hancock County deserve for this to be a priority project and I hope that you will make it one in 2020.”

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