Street reopens in time for Bike Night in Martinsburg

August 18, 2011|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |
  • The intersection of West King and Queen streets reopened to traffic Thursday afternoon, a day earlier than city officials had hoped.
By Matthew Umstead, Staff Writer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The first motorists to approach the newly re-opened intersection of Queen and West King streets Thursday afternoon received a little personal direction from a construction worker who waved them on through town square.

Those that followed shortly after 2 p.m., didn't hesitate to cross the busy junction's newly brick-paved center.

The three-week closure of Queen Street ended a day earlier than city officials had expected, but only two days before Queen Street will be closed for Martinsburg Bike Night, which is expected to attract throngs of motorcyclists to downtown Saturday evening.

City Manager Mark Baldwin commended general contractor Triton Construction Inc., of Nitro, W.Va., for doing an "excellent job" in completing the critical portion of the town square pedestrian safety project under a tight schedule.

"Obviously, we had some great weather (as well)," said Baldwin, who also applauded the brick-paving work done by Stephens City, Va.-based Prosperity Landscaping. The city also helped with relocating utilities, Baldwin said.

While the city and the state Division of Highways were able to announce the reopening of Queen Street Thursday, the remainer of the $1.6 million downtown improvement project east of Queen Street at the square is not expected to be completed until Oct. 31.

East King Street at Queen Street remains closed to traffic.

With hundreds of motorcyclists expected in downtown Martinsburg Saturday for the eighth annual Bike Night, having Queen Street fully reopened in time for this year's event and for school bus traffic as Berkeley County students return to class on Monday is important for safety and logistical reasons, officials have said.  

A number of downtown streets will be closed Saturday for Bike Night, Martinsburg Police Department said Thursday.

The 100 block of East Burke Street between Queen and Spring streets will be closed at 7 a.m., but Spring Street itself will remain open to traffic, police said.

At noon, the 100 block of West Burke Street between Queen and College streets will be closed, but College Street will remain open.

At 2 p.m., Queen Street will be closed from West King to West Race streets, as will the 100 blocks of East and West Martin Street between Spring and College streets, city officials said.

Registration for Bike Night, which is sponsored by Main Street Martinsburg and West Virginia Chapter V of Blue Knights International, will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in Berkeley Plaza along Williamsport Pike, officials have said.

The registration fee is $20 per bike, with proceeds benefiting Hospice of the Panhandle.

Participants in a police escorted-motorcycle ride, which departs from Berkeley Plaza at 4 p.m. and ends in downtown Martinsburg, will receive a Bike Night pin.

Live music, food, vendors and a beer garden will be part of festivities downtown until 11 p.m.

Blue Knights Chapter V Vice President Gary Harmison said in a news release that the theme for the event this year is "honoring our veterans."

Retired NFL kicker Mark Moseley, whose played for the Washington Redskins for most of his professional career, will be this year's special guest.

Officials estimated there were 2,000 or more motorcycles at last year's event and about 8,000 people downtown for the post-ride festivities, Chapter V President K.C. Bohrer said Thursday.

Baldwin thanked business owners and residents for their cooperation during the three-week closure of Queen Street.

"Hopefully, it wasn't too detrimental to the business community," Baldwin said.

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