Alleviate Isolation Of Wheeling Island
For the obvious reason that it is surrounded by water, Wheeling Island is unique among the city’s neighborhoods. Closure of the historic Suspension Bridge at the same time a major bridge rehabilitation project is occurring on Interstate 70 presents a serious challenge to the island’s approximately 3,000 residents.
In addition to restricting Wheeling Island residents’ ability to get out of their neighborhood for school, work or to purchase goods and services, the situation affects emergency services. It also is detrimental to Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack, a major employer and taxpayer.
What can be done to make life easier for residents and businesses on Wheeling Island? State officials already have said — wisely, in our opinion — that the Suspension Bridge cannot be reopened.
And I-70 work has affected the very area where exit and entrance ramps to the island are located.
Options are limited, but state and local officials should take another look at them. For example, can better use be made of the back channel bridge leading from the island to Bridgeport, and I-70 ramps in that community? Are adequate plans in place to deal with emergencies as well as heavy traffic such as that expected during the Super 6 football games in December?
Island residents’ frustrations cannot be eliminated — but every effort must be made to alleviate them.