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City rewires street lights while street gets repaved

August 29, 2004|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - Repaving North Queen Street in Martinsburg has caused more than old asphalt to be milled and hauled away. A few interesting things have been unearthed in the process, Martinsburg City Manager Mark Baldwin said.

Some lost or forgotten water valves and manhole entrances have been found and an improper connection to a storm sewer was discovered near a men's clothing store. The bad connection was causing a sinkhole-type of problem that now can be fixed, Baldwin said.

The repaving project is one of two projects currently going on downtown. Workers also are replacing old wiring to the city's 61 free-standing Victorian light posts. Both projects are expected to be finished sometime next month.

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The project involving the lights - which carries a price tag of $131,700 and is being done by Hagerstown-based Valentine Electric, Heating & Air Inc. - started last week.

Using a crane, city workers have lifted each green light post to install new wiring inside. Starting Monday, a section of the curb near each light will be cut out to run new wiring to the light, Baldwin said.

Lights that will receive new wiring are the ones along Queen Street from Race to King streets and those in two parking lots near the square at the intersection of King and Queen streets.

Baldwin said he's not sure when the lights were installed, but said it was some time ago and that wiring was starting to erode. Repairing the lights was getting more and more difficult, he said.

A perfect opportunity to rewire the lights came with news that the state Department of Transportation planned to repave Queen Street. All of the work needed for the lights can be done before the final layer of asphalt is laid, meaning no new pavement will need to be torn up, Baldwin said.

With the street now milled and bumpy from King Street to Pennsylvania Avenue, repair work on Queen Street is expected to start tonight. The final layer of asphalt will be put down after city workers finish running new wiring to the lights.

During the repaving project, the city may install a new storm-water inlet on Queen Street north of Union Sales Dodge. The new inlet - a ground-level box that collects storm water - could help stop flooding that happens under the Queen Street railroad overpass, Baldwin said. During heavy rainstorms, a foot or more of water collects under the bridge.

Once all of the paving is complete, a new left-turn lane will be marked on Queen Street so drivers heading south can turn onto Martin Street.

Arrows and white lines marking the new lane were in place for only two days before the asphalt was milled, Baldwin said. The new turn lane is expected to give drivers better access to the Caperton Train Station and, once a pedestrian bridge is built, the Martinsburg Roundhouse Complex.

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