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Three (years) is magic number for W.Va. 9 completion

November 28, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Just three more years.

State highway officials say that's roughly how long Eastern Panhandle residents will have to wait before the new four-lane W.Va. 9 will be open to traffic from Martinsburg, W.Va., to Charles Town.

Construction of the new highway is well under way in the Bardane area north of Charles Town.

The vast highway is taking shape in a stretch along the current two-lane W.Va. 9, and construction crews are working on four bridges in the Bardane area, said Bob Amtower, acting district manager for the District 5 office of the Department of Highways.

The bridges are expected to be completed by next June, Amtower said.

Construction crews are building the highway in sections as they make the connection between Charles Town and Martinsburg, highway officials said.

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In the Bardane area, a section between T.A. Lowery Elementary School and Wiltshire Road should be completed by the end of the year, Amtower said.

Another section of the highway from T.A. Lowery east to the northern tip of the Charles Town Bypass should be completed by next June, Amtower said.

From Martinsburg, the highway will start near Eastern Regional Jail and gradually make its way east in sections, Amtower said.

The four-lane highway also will extend east of Charles Town to the Virginia line, and that segment of the road should be under construction by 2008, said Darrell Allen, director of contract administration for the Department of Highways.

There has also been discussion over the years of building a four-lane W.Va. 9 from Martinsburg to Berkeley Springs.

The topic came up again during a transportation meeting in June in Charles Town, although getting funding for such a project could be tough, officials at the meeting said.

Although the state could possibly get $80 million to $100 million more in federal funding for highway projects, the tricky part is coming up with $20 million in matching funds to secure the money, West Virginia Commissioner of Highways Paul Mattox Jr. said.

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