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N. Raleigh St. extension estimate rises

June 10, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The projected cost of extending North Raleigh Street to the intersection of Edwin Miller Boulevard and U.S. 11 in Martinsburg has inched closer to $40 million, according to the West Virginia Department of Transportation.

The 1.2-mile project, which would provide a second north-south route into the city's downtown area, now is projected to cost $37.7 million, according to information compiled by state Division of Highways (DOH) engineer Benjamin J. Savage.

Previous estimates were $32.5 million for the project.

The estimated cost includes engineering, right-of-way acquisition and construction of five bridges and a bicycle path, Savage said in an e-mail.

The bridges will range in length from about 87 feet to nearly 482 feet, Savage said.

Design of the project is expected to be completed this fall, but groundbreaking "likely won't occur until late this year or early next year due to the right-of-way acquisition process," Savage said.

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The project's design is about 60 percent complete, he said.

The first section to be built is on the northern end between Tavern Road and Edwin Miller Boulevard, officials have said.

The Martinsburg City Council is expected tonight to consider approving an agreement with the DOH regarding the design and construction of waterlines that are affected by the Raleigh Street Extension project.

The Raleigh Street Extension's route designation, such as making it part of a new route for U.S. 11 through the city, has been discussed, but no final decision has been made, Savage said.

The route for U.S. 11 now overlaps portions of W.Va. 45 and W.Va. 9 on Queen Street in the city.

While increasingly congested, Queen Street now serves as the only north-south route for traffic detoured off Interstate 81 because of accidents as well as daily emergency call response. The street also has a limited height clearance for large vehicles where CSX railroad lines cross over the road.

City officials so far have secured $29.1 million for the project and have asked for additional funding, City Manager Mark Baldwin said Wednesday. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito on May 14 announced the project was one of her "high-priority" funding requests for inclusion in the 2009 Surface Transportation Reauthorization legislation now pending in Congress.

Previous funding secured for the project also has been announced by Sens. Robert C. Byrd and John Rockefeller, both D-W.Va.

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