Drivers Face Uphill Battle on 29th Street in Wheeling

Photo by Alex Meyer City officials and residents are still waiting for the contractor on a water line replacement project to address damage done to 29th Street in Wheeling during the work.

Just a week ago, a slab of ice several inches thick and a few dozen feet long greeted travelers headed up 29th Street from Wheeling to Bethlehem.

The lane coming down the hill from Bethlehem was no better, as motorists were forced to deal with ruts and deep potholes from an ongoing water line replacement project.

In Wheeling, 29th Street may be one of the most neglected sections of road right now.

City Manager Robert Herron said he continues to receive complaints on the condition of 29th Street Hill where it merges with Valley Boulevard. Crews have been working when the weather permits to alleviate some of the issues, but cold then warm weather, and snow and then rain, make it hard for any temporary fix to the potholes to last.

“I want to assure everybody that we are aware of it and have addressed it with the contractor,” Herron said Tuesday. “Hopefully they can get that project done as soon as possible.”

The construction, which began in November, is a water line replacement project contracted by the city through James White Construction of Weirton. Though the stretch of road is owned by the state, the project is controlled by the city because it owns and operates the water lines, 3rd Ward Councilwoman Melinda Koslik said.

Herron said while the city has a good relationship on projects with James White Construction, the water line replacement work hasn’t gone as planned.

“They clearly could do a better job of maintaining the trench line in the road. We are aware of that,” Herron said.

Koslik said city staff told her the project should be completed within a “few weeks,” but does not know of an official date.

The road is in poor condition, with several ruts and potholes, and was in even worse condition for drivers with the recent frigid weather.

One resident who drives the road daily, Amy Hutchison of South Wheeling, said the road was covered with thick slabs of ice in places last week.

“It was awful. It’s not a well-lit road and it was dark,” she said. “There was frozen black snow inches high with awful ruts in the piles. And a decent size pothole was covered. When I hit that unexpectedly my car went all over the place.”

Hutchison said now that the ice and snow have melted, the road has been manageable for her to drive on.

“The work has been going on for so long that I’m familiar with the holes and do the routine bob and weave,” she said.

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