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Residents to get say on 340 expansion plans

January 03, 2002

Residents to get say on 340 expansion plans



By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town


Local residents will have the chance to learn about two designs for expanding U.S. 340 from two lanes to four lanes from Charles Town south to the Virginia line during a public hearing Jan. 15, state highway officials said Wednesday.

Although the project is one of three major highway projects in the Eastern Panhandle for which design work has been postponed, state highway officials have said they would continue to work on a location for the new four-lane road.

The two alternatives for the new road that have been picked for further study come from a total of eight routes originally analyzed, according to a news release from the state Division of Highways.

The two different possible routes for the road would affect six houses and up to four businesses, according to the news release.

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Residents will be able to see plans for the two designs at a public hearing to be held Jan. 15 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Page Jackson Elementary School along U.S. 340 south of Charles Town.

Del. Dale Manuel, D-Jefferson, said Wednesday night he was not sure where the two routes would run.

Manuel said he has received several phone calls from local residents wanting to know where the routes are located.

Highway officials announced in August 2000 they were considering widening U.S. 340 from Charles Town south to the Virginia line, which is about a five-mile stretch.

The segment of U.S. 340 between Harpers Ferry and Charles Town is already four lanes.

Although he could not provide any numbers at the time, state highway engineer Joe Denault said the volume of traffic on the two-lane segment of the road warrants widening it to four lanes, which is expected to cost between $27 million to $39.2 million.

Manuel said Wednesday night that widening U.S. 340 could provide great economic development opportunities for Jefferson County, especially in light of the planned expansion of W.Va. 9 from two lanes to four lanes in Jefferson and Berkeley counties.

Last February, state highway officials announced that design work on the U.S. 340 project, Martinsburg bypass and a new four-lane W.Va. 9 from Martinsburg to Berkeley Springs would be postponed to save money for other highway projects in the state.

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