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Preliminary work to begin on Shepherd University pedestrian underpass

February 01, 2012|By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. — Motorists entering Shepherdstown over the Potomac River bridge should expect delays over the next nine months as work begins on a long-awaited safe pedestrian underpass linking the East and West campuses of Shepherd University.

Shepherdstown police said last month that a 21-year-old Shepherd student was hospitalized with serious injuries when she was struck by a vehicle while walking through the busy crosswalk on North Duke Street, the route that brings traffic from Maryland into Shepherdstown.

Construction of the $4 million underpass has been in the planning stages for several years.

A letter from university officials to Shepherdstown residents and business owners said the construction of the underpass itself will be done between May and August during the school’s summer break.

Preliminary work scheduled to start this month includes moving underground utility and overhead electrical lines, building a short detour road or bypass through the Bavarian Inn property onto Shepherd

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Grade Road and building a temporary access road around the construction site across West Campus Drive and back onto North Duke Street.

The final stage, scheduled for September and October,  will be restoration of the work site, according to the letter.

Travelers heading west toward Martinsburg from the Potomac River bridge will be encouraged to take a right off the Bavarian Inn bypass onto Shepherd Grade Road, then left onto University Drive and follow it around the West Campus to W.Va. 45.

Students and other pedestrians who currently use the crosswalk will have to cross North Duke Street at High Street during construction.

University officials said delays for motorists while the work is being done will range from “rare” to “minimal.”

The letter includes a map of the construction site featuring the new bypass and a construction timetable.

“During the construction phase, pedestrian and vehicular routes will be altered to provide for the safest and easiest navigation to points on campus and in Shepherdstown,” the letter said.

Richard Staisloff, acting vice president for administration and finance at Shepherd, said that detouring traffic through the Bavarian Inn property will be less of an inconvenience to motorists than if they had to wait for a flagman to wave them through single lanes during construction of the underpass.

Additional information on the project, including changes to the construction schedule plus an electronic version of the detour map, can be found on the university’s Web site, www.shepherd.edu/underpass or by calling 304-876-5107.

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