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Raleigh Street Extension project could be done by late summer or early fall

April 05, 2013|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthewu@herald-mail.com
  • The southern end of the Raleigh Street expansion project near Race Street in Martinsburg, W.Va.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Martinsburg City Manager Mark Baldwin told Berkeley County leaders Thursday night that the $38 million Raleigh Street Extension road project could be done by late summer or early fall.

The 1.2-mile construction project to extend Raleigh Street north to U.S. 11 and W.Va. 9, includes five bridges and there will be a new traffic signal at the Tavern Road intersection, Baldwin said.

A portion of Tavern Road that also is being re-routed as part of the project is expected to be completed by the end of May or beginning of June and opened to traffic, Baldwin said. 

Oatesdale Park also will have a new entrance from the rerouted portion of Tavern Road when work is completed, Baldwin said.

Given the opening of the new north-south connection through the city, county Councilwoman Elaine Mauck asked Baldwin how truck traffic would be handled, particularly at King and Raleigh streets.

“I don’t know how some of these trucks could make that turn,” Mauck said.

“That’s a very good question, that was some of our concern initially with the intersection at Race and Raleigh (streets) as well,” Baldwin said.

“It’s going to be very difficult to make a lefthand turn at that intersection and as well as King (Street),” Baldwin said. “It will be interesting when traffic opens up for a while.”

Councilman James Whitacre asked whether any consideration had been given to posting signage “not suitable to large trucks.”

Baldwin said the city could address that possibility with the state, but had not done so yet. Baldwin said he expects the state would prefer W.Va. 9, W.Va. 45 and U.S. 11 to remain the primary routes for truck traffic in the city.

Councilman Doug Copenhaver asked Baldwin whether he thinks the new route will enhance the downtown area for future development.

“That question keeps coming up ... We think it will enhance it,” Baldwin said. “It’s another thoroughfare to get into downtown.”

Baldwin said the city has asked for a traffic signal at the Race and Raleigh street intersection, but the state has said it is not needed at this time. 

The new route will be signed for 25 and 35 mph and includes street lighting, sidewalks and a bicycle path, Baldwin said.

Baldwin noted the project’s completion comes 10 years after state Sen. John Unger, D-Berkeley/Jefferson, brought state Department of Transportation officials to Martinsburg to consider the improvement in 2003 as part of the state’s six-year plan.

The Raleigh Street Extension once was secondary to plans for a W.Va. 9 Martinsburg bypass, but Baldwin recounted how Berkeley County leaders backed the reallocation of $13 million in federal funding from the bypass to the city’s project to help move it forward. 

Baldwin said the last of three sections of the Raleigh Street Extension to be done is about six months behind the north and south ends of the project due to extensive right-of-way and utility relocation issues.

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