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MPO Coverage Board to contemplate extending Exit 155 mission timeline

MORGANTOWN — In 2019, it was believed a mission to reshape Interstate 79’s Star Metropolis exit (Exit 155) would start in 2021. 

Now, as 2023 attracts to an in depth, it seems as if that work could possibly be as a lot as 5 years away. 

The Morgantown Monongalia Metropolitan Planning Group Coverage Board is contemplating a change to its Transportation Enchancment Program (TIP) that might give the mission a 2029 designation. 

The coverage board tabled the Exit 155 TIP modification throughout final week’s assembly citing the necessity for extra info. 

The TIP is the fiscally constrained checklist upon which tasks have to be positioned to obtain federal funding. It’s a mechanism by MPOs to make sure native stakeholders have a say within the expenditure of federal funds on transportation tasks. 

The TIP at present has the interchange reconfiguration listed for fiscal 12 months 2024.  

MPO Government Director Invoice Austin defined extending the timeline would imply the mission would wish to occur earlier than the tip of FY 2029, however it might occur sooner. 

An association between the state and native stakeholders might expedite issues, as might further federal {dollars}. 

In July 2022, a neighborhood contingent together with the county and developer WestRidge utilized for $95 million by the U.S. Division of Transportation’s INFRA Grant program. It was defined that cash would decide up the place the West Virginia Division of Highways’ $66 million interchange mission ended and improve infrastructure west to Mylan Park. 

That software was unsuccessful however has since been resubmitted. 

“Shifting Exit 155’s timeline to 2029 is predicated on the present standing of grant purposes and different points. It could possibly be moved ahead if the applying is profitable,” Austin defined, noting that no matter whether or not the extra INFRA cash materializes, the mission will ultimately have to maneuver ahead. 

“In the end whether or not they get a grant or not, they’re going to need to do it,” he mentioned. 

Within the meantime, two associated tasks are anticipated.  

One, the bridges over Chaplin Hill Highway might be addressed as a part of greater than $100 million in bridge replacements and renovations in north central and northern West Virginia. 

Second, two units of coordinated visitors lights will probably be going up on Chaplin Hill Highway at each I-79 off ramps. That work is predicted within the first quarter of 2024. 

In its present state, the Exit 155 interchange has been rated “F” for failing by the division of transportation throughout peak night and Saturday hours.  

The reconfiguration will flip the prevailing infrastructure right into a divergent diamond interchange with a flyover heading west.