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Raleigh Street work expected to cause congestion

April 17, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com
  • Continuing work on the Raleigh Street extension in Martinsburg, W.Va., is seen recently from the T-ball field at Oatesdale Park.
Photo by Matthew Umstead

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Motorists should expect delays and be aware of trucks and equipment entering the roadway at the intersection of U.S. 11 and Edwin Miller Boulevard where work continues on the Raleigh Street extension, state highways officials said Tuesday.

Daytime work to be done between 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. by Pro Contracting Inc. includes areas on the north side of the intersection and is exected to last several weeks, the state Division of Highways said.

The Division of Highways is recommending motorists use an alternate route to avoid the construction area, if possible.

The north end of the 1.2-mile project between Edwin Miller Boulevard and Race Street is 79 percent complete and expected to be finished by August, a Division of Highways spokesman said Tuesday.

The southern end of the project between Race Street and Tavern Road is 42 percent complete and on track to be completed by November, the agency said.

The middle project to connect the other segments has not started yet, but Division of Highways officials expect it to be completed by next summer.

In addition to establishing a second, north-south route in the city, the project includes construction of a walking/biking path to be built alongside the new road. 

Including the ballfield relocation project in Oatesdale Park, four contracts totaling about $22 million have been awarded for the road’s construction, according to Division of Highways and city records.

City officials hope the new connector will help improve emergency response, relieve existing and future traffic congestion along Queen Street and allow for economic development along the new corridor.

One particular area being eyed for new development along the route is near the northern end where the city established a tax increment finance, or TIF, district to provide utilities and road improvements and spur investment.

A $1.7 million construction contract to extend Lutz Avenue to Meridian Parkway, along with a traffic circle at the new intersection of the roads, is expected to be completed by the end of May, according to City Manager Mark Baldwin.

City officials ultimately plan to extend Lutz Avenue farther east to connect to the street the Raleigh Street Extension via Forbes Drive to open up more land for development.

Sidewalks and a bike/pedestrian path, lighting and landscaping, also is part of the project under way. Tax money generated by development in the TIF district is to be committed to paying off bonds issued for the infrastructure improvements in the special zone.

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