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Work on W.Va. 9 to begin by late summer

January 11, 2000|By JULIE E. GREENE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Eastern Panhandle drivers should see work begin on a new four-lane W.Va. 9 by late summer, according to the West Virginia Department of Transportation.

Crews will begin by constructing the four-lane segment between the Charles Town, W.Va., bypass and Cattail Run in Jefferson County, with completion expected by the fall of 2001, said Joseph T. Deneault, an engineer with the state's Division of Highways.

Construction of that 1-mile stretch is expected to cost $12 million, Deneault said. There are no homes or businesses along the stretch that need to be relocated.

The 4-mile segment of the new highway from Charles Town to the Virginia line will cost $65 million, compared to $70 million for the 10-mile segment between Martinsburg and Charles Town, Deneault said. The Charles Town-Virginia line segment includes building a large bridge over the Shenandoah River.

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Work on the segment between Martinsburg and Charles Town is expected to begin by mid- to late fall near the Bardane Industrial Park, Deneault said.

That stretch is almost a mile long and the state already owns the right of way there, he said.

The stretch between Martinsburg and Charles Town will connect to the existing four-lane W.Va. 9 at Charles Town.

During construction of the new W.Va. 9 route, there will be some blasting, and those who live close by will be notified ahead of time, Deneault said.

Deneault said state transportation officials are trying to do a better job of keeping residents updated about various transportation projects, including W.Va. 9.

An informational meeting will be held about Martinsburg's W.Va. 9 bypass between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Jan. 24 at Berkeley Heights Elementary School.

Attendees will be given an opportunity to fill out comment cards about the new W.Va. 9 alignment. While the main corridor has been determined, there is still time to have impact on items within the corridor such as design features, Deneault said.

A bike path will be provided along the new W.Va. 9 route.

Design studies are still being done for the W.Va. 9 expanded route between Martinsburg and Berkeley Springs, W.Va., Deneault said.

That segment has not been funded yet, while $132 million in federal and state funds are already earmarked for the segments between Martinsburg and the Virginia line, he said.

The expansion of W.Va. 9 is needed to accommodate an increase in traffic volume and to make the highway safer, Deneault said. Once the new four-lane route is complete, the existing W.Va. 9 can be used mainly for local traffic, he said.

The W.Va. 9 expansion project has not been without problems.

An 11 a.m. hearing has been scheduled for Feb. 14 to allow Berkeley County Circuit Court to decide whether the state can condemn two properties for the expansion.

One property is in Hedgesville, W.Va., while the other is along West King Street west of California Avenue in Martinsburg, according to court records.

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