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State taking feedback on bridge challenge slated to start in spring 2024

A barge has been deployed and a contractor working with the West Virginia Division of Highways will begin boring riverbed core samples this week as a preliminary step within the DOH’s plan to construct a brand new bridge throughout the Monongahela River. 

Whereas dates are approximate and topic to vary, the DOH has stated it want to start building of the challenge — formally recognized because the Morgantown Industrial Park Entry Undertaking — within the spring. 

DOH Assistant Director of Engineering Dirar Ahmad stated the drilling is a part of the NEPA, or Nationwide Environmental Coverage Act course of as properly the state’s due diligence for any such challenge.   

“The core boring is a part of the exploratory data that we want so we are able to make an engineering determination earlier than we transfer ahead,” he stated. “Generally geology is difficult. You could have rock 60-foot deep on one facet of the river, however you get to the opposite facet and it’s deeper or it’s extra shallow. We don’t take probabilities in relation to the security of the general public.”  

Ahmad was one of many DOH representatives within the Westwood Center Faculty Gymnasium Tuesday night for a public assembly on the challenge. The DOH is taking public suggestions by Nov. 3. 

The state has stated it intends to construct the bridge by the tip of 2025 to expedite interstate entry for vans headed to and from the commercial park, and particularly, Mountaintop Beverage. 

In August, the Morgantown Monongalia Metropolitan Planning Group weighed in, deciding on the state’s Various 3 because the bridge location. 

Various 3 improves the commercial park’s current Rail Avenue, crosses the river on a multi-span bridge, and joins U.S. 119 (Don Knotts Boulevard) close to Scott Avenue. A connection to Smithtown Highway may also be offered and a portion of Grasp Graphics Highway, connecting to River Highway, may also be improved and paved. 

The state has maintained the bridge shall be constructed along with a brand new I-79 Concord Grove interchange, which has been within the works for years and is caught up within the federal regulatory course of.    

As a resident of Grasp Graphics Highway, Sharlene Fortney has been following that challenge intently from the start. 

She was one in all a number of folks at Tuesday’s assembly who stated she merely can’t perceive, or foresee, the state constructing each initiatives.

“They hold saying that interchange is coming. The vans roll by day by day. I simply wish to know the deal. I feel this bridge will assist, however what’s the purpose of the bridge for those who say you’re placing the interchange in they usually’re going the identical instructions,” Fortney stated. “They hold saying they’re doing each. That looks as if an unimaginable sum of money to me, and it doesn’t actually appear to make sense.” 

These wishing to file written feedback might accomplish that earlier than Nov. 3. Ship feedback to Travis Lengthy, director of the Technical Help Division of the West Virginia Division of Highways, at 1334 Smith St., Charleston, WV 25301.