W.Va. 2 Project Options Unveiled in New Martinsville

NEW MARTINSVILLE — West Virginia Division of Highways officials presented the public with three different options Thursday for widening W.Va. 2 to four lanes between Proctor and Kent.

DOH representatives and personnel from the CDM Smith engineering and construction unveiled those options during an informational workshop for the public at New Martinsville Elementary School. The W.Va. 2 widening project is among a list of about $1.9 billion in highway projects around the state to be funded by the $1.6 billion road bond West Virginia voters approved last month.

Three different alternatives were on display, with cost estimates ranging from $60.1 million to $89.3 million. The DOH estimated the Proctor-to-Kent project would cost about $80 million in a list released to the public prior to the road bond referendum.

Construction on the W.Va. 2 widening project isn’t expected to begin until April 2020.

Alternative One — the least expensive of the three — would run along the foot of the hillside and allow the existing highway to remain “as a frontage or plant access road, which allows the plant accesses to be consolidated into a single intersection,” according to information provided by the DOH.

Meanwhile, Alternative Two — which carries an estimated $77.9 million price tag — was developed to “maximize the amount of land available for development.” According to the DOH, the configuration is similar to Alternative One, but with adjustments to move the alignment onto the hillside.

The most expensive option at $89.3 million, Alternative Three was developed to avoid key properties, such as the Bayer Heritage Federal Credit Union, as well as a recently installed gas line serving the Natrium Extraction and Fractionation Processing Plant.

This includes a higher alignment on the hillside, to the east of Alternatives One and Two.

Alternative One has an estimated area of impact of 152 acres of land, while Alternatives Two and three could impact 273 acres and 221.5 acres, respectively. Alternative One would displace three residences, while four residences would be displaced via Alternatives Two and Three.

DOH officials said protective measures may be required for the Mason-Dixon Line Monument under any of the alternatives, while Alternative Three could impact an electrical tower.

None of the options would affect cemeteries. However, officials noted retaining walls may be required for Alternative One during certain phases of the project. Alternative Two would require relocation of the credit union, while Alternative Three would not impact the credit union at all.

Dirar Ahmed, of the DOH’s Engineering Department, is enthusiastic over the plans for the extended four-lane highway. He said the Kent-to-Franklin four-lane project is also being reactivated. After planned projects are completed, the area will have 10-11 miles of four-lane highway, he added.

“It is a great thing,” Ahmed said, citing the need for safer roads. “It is good for everybody and will bring more industry.”

Ahmed praised Gov. Jim Justice for his “hard work” in getting voters to support the road bond referendum.

Larry Clegg of CDM Smith noted that plans for the four-lane expansion had been studied for years, but the project’s future was uncertain until passage of the road bond referendum.

Ahmed encouraged the public to offer its input, as it will factor into the chosen alternative. Public comment is due by Dec. 4.

Comments can be mailed to R.J. Scites, P.E., Director, Engineering Division, West Virginia Department of Transportation, 1334 Smith St., Charleston, WV 25301. Comment sheets and project information also are available at go.wv.gov/dotcomment.

The DOH is developing an environmental assessment to identify potential impacts of the project. Officials said preliminary engineering studies have been completed and detailed design studies are underway.

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