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Getting W.Va. 2 Project Started

For more than three years, West Virginia Division of Highways officials have been thinking about how to solve a traffic obstacle in New Cumberland. Anyone who has ever driven W.Va. 2 through the community knows what it is — two 90-degree turns within a few feet of each other. They are difficult to negotiate even for passenger cars, much less large trucks.

Hundreds of millions of dollars made available through the Roads to Prosperity program are intended to fund road and bridge repairs throughout the state. W.Va. 2 in New Cumberland is on the list.

Six alternatives to address the bottleneck had been under consideration. Local residents and officials overwhelmingly favored one referred to as Plan 5A. If undertaken, it would realign and widen about 6,500 feet of W.Va. 2 through New Cumberland. Though the most costly of the proposals, once estimated at $17.6 million, it clearly is the best by far.

Early this year, DOH officials pledged to make a decision on the project this spring. Well, spring has come and gone, and there has been no decision, or at least, no announcement of one.

That prompted three legislators representing New Cumberland — state Sen. William Ihlenfeld and House of Delegates members Pat McGeehan and Randy Swartzmiller — to write to state Department of Transportation Secretary Byrd White. Lack of an announcement on the New Cumberland project “concerns us,” they wrote, reiterating their support for Alternative 5A.

“The citizens of Hancock County have been waiting years for the bottle neck to go away and they deserve an answer,” concluded the lawmakers.

Precisely. DOH officials should select Alternative 5A for New Cumberland, so they can start work on the project during the prime summer construction season.

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