Transportation group hopes to use money for road fixes

May 30, 2006|by TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - A $50,000 grant application for the Eastern Panhandle Transportation Authority is in the works, Town of Bath Mayor Susan Webster said.

Webster, the Authority's vice chairwoman and Morgan County's representative, said she wrote a letter recently to state Sen. Walt Helmick, D-Pocahontas, requesting the $50,000 grant application they received to set up an office in the Caperton Train Station in Martinsburg, W.Va., be approved to also be used for capital safety improvements in the three counties.

Webster said the group discovered that equipment and office furnishings can be acquired through state and federal surplus programs and an office could be set up for $5,000. Webster said she requested the Authority be allowed to use the remaining $45,000 - $15,000 for each county for small safety road improvement projects.

She said the EPTA will use the money to "eliminate some of the smaller hazards on our overcrowded roads."


Webster said Randy Sigley, local engineer for the W.Va. Department of Highways (DOH) in District 5, met with her recently and suggested some improvements for the Town of Bath in Berkeley Springs.

One improvement would be fixing the traffic hazard at the intersection at Green Street, Dawson Street and W.Va. 9 East, Webster said.

Webster said Sigley will submit a drawing for the intersection showing how to improve it.

She said another improvement would be to build an island - a structure to house the stop sign - at Wilkes Street and W.Va. 9 West. The sign is now housed in a yellow barrel in front of the town's municipal center.

A four-way stop sign is needed at the intersection of Independence and Mercer streets and an island would be built to house the stop sign on the southeast side of Independence Street. Sigley said a traffic study would need to be done by the DOH before moving forward, Webster said.

Also, sidewalks are needed on Williams Street, where the skate park is proposed. Without sidewalks, it would be a safety hazard, she said.

If approved, the grant funding would come from the West Virginia Economic Development Office, she said, and would be used to "get positive things done in the counties."

"Our intention is to aid the local Department of Highways Superintendents. We know that their work lists are long and that the funding is short," Webster said.

The EPTA was created in 2004 by the W.Va. Legislature to promote better transportation on the major roads in the three counties, particularly W.Va. 9, U.S. 522, and U.S. 340, she said.

The other two counties are also looking at projects, Webster said.

The Authority is rather limited, she said.

"We can assist the ... DOH by pointing out road problems and collect information from the public. By getting public input, we can learn what needs to be done with the roads," Webster said.

"This small amount of money can make a difference in everyday lives," she said.

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