W.Va. 88 Paving Could Impact Festival of Lights at Oglebay Park in Wheeling

Photo by Casey Junkins West Virginia Division of Highways contractors will soon begin road and sidewalk renovations along W.Va. 88.

WHEELING — In less than two months, hundreds of cars will transport thousands of patrons along W.Va. 88 from the intersection of National Road for the Oglebay Park Winter Festival of Lights.

But next week, West Virginia Division of Highways officials plan to begin lane restrictions on the stretch of W.Va. 88 from the area of Sheetz to the intersection of Warden Run Road, which veers from W.Va. 88 at the bottom of the hill that leads up to Oglebay. The estimated completion date for the project is Nov. 17, while the Festival of Lights begins Nov. 10.

“My biggest concern is the Festival of Lights,” DOH District 6 Engineer Gus Suwaid said while addressing Wheeling City Council this week.

“We’re addressing that with the contractor.”

The project calls for both sides of the road to be paved along W.Va. 88, in addition to some sidewalk work.

“If it comes to the point we have to expedite … ,” Suwaid said. “One way or the other, I would like to finish this project this year.”

Stephen Hilliard serves as president and CEO of the Wheeling Park Commission, which operates Oglebay Park.

“Obviously, this is a concern,” Hilliard said. “We have always worked well with the state in the past. We certainly believe they will work to accommodate our festival to the best of their ability.”

Hilliard said park leaders have met with state road officials regarding the matter, adding that additional meetings will likely occur.

“As we all know, the roads need to be improved,” Hilliard said. “We will work in a spirit of cooperation with the state.”

The Festival of Lights, an Upper Ohio Valley tradition since 1985, is scheduled to run nightly from Nov. 10 to Jan. 1.

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