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Martinsburg's Raleigh Street project could see traffic soon

August 02, 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. — The north and south ends of the Raleigh Street extension in Martinsburg are expected to be ready for traffic this fall, but the midsection of the new downtown connector will not be completed until spring 2013, officials said Thursday.

The midsection, which entails the building of bridges over the CSX and Winchester & Western railroads and work involving Tavern Road, was delayed by utility relocation and right-of-way issues, City Manager Mark Baldwin said Thursday during a joint meeting of the Martinsburg City Council and Berkeley County Council.

Even with the delayed start of the third segment, “there’s light at the end of the tunnel,” Baldwin said.

The midsection, now about 25 percent complete, is expected to be completed in May 2013, Daniel Watts of the West Virginia Division of Highways said Thursday in an email.

Final paving of the northern segment, which is 91 percent complete, is scheduled to begin Monday, Watts said.

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Pavement markings and “final dressing” for the segment, which ends at the intersection of Edwin Miller Boulevard (W.Va. 9) and Williamsport Pike (U.S. 11), is to be finished in early September, Watts said.

The southern end of the project is about 70 percent complete, but is expected to be completed by Oct. 31, Watts said.

The approximate total cost of the three segments is $21 million, Watts said.

Baldwin said the new connection from downtown at West Race Street will be a two-lane city street before widening to a three-lane road with a turn lane in the center. At the northern end, the new extension will be five lanes, including turn lanes, Baldwin said.

When asked how the new connector might affect downtown, Baldwin said he believes it will alleviate traffic on Queen Street, which currently is the only north-south corridor through the city.

Martinsburg Mayor George Karos said the project was made possible by the county’s support of shifting resources from a proposed bypass around the city, which he said would have been a detriment. City officials also have touted the importance of having the Raleigh Street extension in place to serve as a second route for emergency responders.

Baldwin said he expects the section of Raleigh Street between King and Race streets to be repaved as part of the Raleigh Street extension project.

Watts said Thursday that other major highway projects under construction include W.Va. 9 from Charles Town to the Virginia state line, which is expected to be completed in November.

The new four-lane highway bridge over the Shenandoah River is expected to be completed in October, Watts said.

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