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Eliminating A Bottleneck

After decades during which motorists traveling W.Va. 2 through New Cumberland have had to slow to a crawl to negotiate two 90-degree turns and two railroad crossings, state Division of Highways officials have decided to do something about the problem. They should solve it rather than adopt what amounts to a Band-Aid approach.

DOH officials are considering five alternatives for work in New Cumberland. Four of them, ranging in cost from $3.9 million to $6.9 million, would merely improve the sharp turns.

The fifth option, labeled Alternative 5A by the DOH, would eliminate the bottleneck and improve W.Va. 2 traffic flow in other ways. It calls for relocating the highway through much of New Cumberland. A route between existing W.Va. 2 and the Ohio River would be utilized.

Unfortunately, at $15.9 million, Alternative 5A is more expensive than the other options.

Hancock County commissioners favor the 5A approach. They believe most residents of the area do, too. But, as Commissioner Paul Cowey noted last week, “we need it … on paper” to influence DOH officials.

Cowey meant that those interested in the project need to let the DOH know, either in writing or electronically, which of the options they prefer. One easy way to do that, as well as to learn more about the proposal, is to visit the website www.go.wv.gov/dotcomment.

Once there, click on the link for WV 2 — New Cumberland. A map showing the five alternatives, along with details about them, can be viewed. Online comments can be submitted there, too.

One way to virtually ensure DOH officials select one of the less-expensive alternatives is for them not to hear from the public. One cannot blame state officials for deciding that if no one cares to comment, they can save taxpayers a substantial amount of money by using an inexpensive option.

We encourage those who use W.Va. 2 through New Cumberland to make your feelings known to the DOH, then — but do it before the deadline, which is Oct. 17.

County commissioners are right: The New Cumberland bottleneck should be eliminated, not just alleviated.

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