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Rethink Alt 3 bridge

Different 1 is the general better option

Although all the excitement across the new bridge that may join Morgantown Industrial Park to the interstates has revolved round Different 3, the ink hasn’t but dried on the paper to make it official. Which implies there’s nonetheless time to contemplate Different 1, as a substitute, as we await phrase on the Concord Grove interchange.

Different 3 has plenty of native governmental help, which is why it has develop into the de facto route in dialog. On this one, the bridge would join the south finish of the MIP to U.S. 119/Grafton Street within the lower than half-mile stretch between Scott Avenue and the Glotfelty Tire Heart. The connection would intersect Smithtown Street someplace within the space of the Kingdom Corridor of Jehovah’s Witnesses earlier than crossing the river and connecting on to Rail Road.

Nevertheless, there are some disadvantages that ought to be thought of earlier than the state invests $70-plus million into the challenge.

The lesser of those is the bridge would seemingly develop into a “bridge to nowhere” in a number of years. All of the potential routes are designed to attach again to the Concord Grove interchange, which implies Different 3 would go from the long run interchange to Grasp Graphics Street, then to Rail Road, which runs between Mountaintop Beverage and the remainder of the MIP, after which throughout the river. As soon as the interchange is full, there shall be no purpose to make use of the bridge to Grafton Street; vans could have faster, simpler entry to the interstate by going as much as the interchange.

The larger downside is the one MUB identified in its current letter to the Division of Highways: Different 3 places the bridge 1.5 miles south of MUB’s main ingesting water consumption. (Keep in mind, the Mon River flows north.) Whereas MUB has voiced its help for Different 3, it additionally made clear it has considerations. The best of which is that this: If there was any sort of spill on the bridge that overflowed into the river, MUB would have solely a handful of minutes to attempt to stop contaminated or hazardous supplies from ruining our ingesting water provide. (Assume Elk River chemical spill, circa 2014.)

With these considerations in thoughts, native officers ought to give better consideration to Different 1, which might put the bridge within the roughly 1,000-foot stretch between the Morgantown Lock and the BFS station at 305 Don Knotts Blvd. It’s not excellent — as a substitute of repairing the present River Street, it requires making a parallel highway to attach the brand new bridge to the long run Concord Grover interchange.

Nevertheless, the bridge would seemingly proceed for use lengthy after the interchange is full: A second bridge between Morgantown and Westover would create a greater connection between the communities and hopefully alleviate a few of the congestion on the present Westover bridge.

Extra importantly, the Different 1 bridge is above the water consumption, which implies building and any doable spills wouldn’t be an instantaneous risk to our ingesting water provide. That alone ought to be purpose sufficient to contemplate Different 1 over Different 3.