(WVNews 10/2) The 2018 North Central West Virginia Infrastructure Initiative, a technical conference aimed at industry professionals, attracted more than 200 attendees to the Bridgeport Conference Center on Tuesday for a day of presentations, continuing education and networking. Jim Christie, senior project manager for Civil & Environmental Consultants Inc., said Tuesday marked the fourth year in a row the Bridgeport-based firm has hosted the conference.
(Bluefield Daily Telegraph 10/2) Motorists planning to drive Monday down Exit 9’s southbound ram and continue south down Interstate 77 had to consider alternatives Monday while construction crews prepared it for paving. Chief Deputy Capt. Joe Parks with the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department told the Bluefield Daily Telegraph early Monday morning that the entrance ramp to I-77 south could be closed due to construction. Motorists were rerouted to Exit 1 at John Nash Boulevard in Bluefield or advised to go north on I-77 to Exit 14, leave the highway there, then turn around and proceed south.
(Herald-Mail Media 10/2) Plans to more than double the size of the W. Randy Smith Recreation Center moved forward at Monday night's Berkeley County Planning Commission meeting. Construction could begin as soon as this month on the 19,000-square-foot addition, said Steve Catlett, executive director of the Martinsburg-Berkeley County (W.Va.) Parks and Recreation Board. Planning commission members unanimously approved advancing the project's preliminary plan. Catlett said before the meeting that Minghini's General Contractors Inc. has been chosen for the project.
(The Dominion Post 10/2) Tom Luckini, proprietor of Luckini & Company, said work on the stone wall along Holland Avenue will likely continue for the next 10 days, depending on the weather. Anyone making their way into Westover from Morgantown, or vice versa, in the last couple days has likely encountered traffic backups as the work is being done alongside a curve, midway up a hill. “It’s a bit scary,” Luckini said of the traffic. “I feel sorry for the flag men. They’ve got to stay on their toes constantly. You can’t be out there half-asleep. I’ll tell you that.” The City of Westover initially set aside $50,000 for the work but ended up paying a total of $31,170 to Luckini and Shinkovich Masonry.
(The Exponent Telegram 10/2) The contract to fix another embankment failure will be awarded during Thursday’s Clarksburg City Council meeting, according to Assistant city Manager Anthony Bellotte. The first contract, for a road slip on Lower Winding Way, was awarded to Rock Forge Bridge of Amma in the amount of $139,400. The second contract, for an embankment failure near Ascension and Brannon streets, was awarded to Alan Stone Company of Williamstown in the amount of $396,113. The third contract, for an embankment failure on Magnolia Street off Milford Street, was awarded to Wolfe’s Excavating, LLC of Clarksburg in the amount of $113,962.88.
(The Herald-Dispatch 10/3) The Cabell County Board of Education approved steps toward significant improvements to Davis Creek and Martha elementary schools during its regular meeting Tuesday night at the district's central office in Huntington. For Davis Creek, the board approved a contract with C.J. Hughes Construction Company, Inc. for the Davis Creek Elementary Wastewater Improvement Project - planned to ultimately connect the school to public sewage lines through the Pea Ridge Public Service District. For Martha, the board approved ZMM Architects and Engineers as the architectural firm for a new addition at Martha Elementary School.
(The Wayne County News 10/3) After several complaints of criminal and drug activity in the former Buffalo High School building, the Wayne County Board of Education has started the process to demolish the property. "We've contacted our architects and they are working on an advertisement for the demolition of the building," Wayne County Schools Superintendent Todd Alexander said. "Once we get an idea of the cost then we will be able to move forward with the plan."
(The Fairmont News 10/3) Thanks to a renewed contract with Aladdin Food Services, Fairmont State University’s $2 million plan to renovate the Falcon Center with all new eateries is almost complete, with a full-service Starbucks soon to join the new Chick-fil-A and Chilaca. Plans for the renovations were set after Fairmont State officials polled students on what new restaurants they’d like to see on campus. Fairmont State University Chief Financial Officer Christa Kwiatkowski said the renovations revolved around the school’s contract with Aladdin Food Services coming to an end.
(Office of the Governor 10/3) CHARLESTON, WV - The West Virginia Department of Transportation, with approval from Gov. Jim Justice, has awarded the contract to pave 8.87 miles along the Coalfields Expressway between Mullens and Slab Fork. Work also extends to include the Mullens Connector. Part of Gov. Justice's Roads to Prosperity plan and financed with General Obligation Bonds authorized by the constitutional amendment, this project was awarded to Kokosing Construction Company, Inc. of Columbus, Ohio with a bid of $44.3 million. In addition to paving, there will also be guardrail and signage work. The work is scheduled to begin this Fall with a tentative completion date of November 2019.
(The Exponent Telegram 10/3) After not holding a meeting since early 2017, the Marion County Development Authority met Wednesday morning, approving a request for a loan to do work on streets throughout the town of Rivesville. At the meeting, Rivesville Mayor Yvonne Liberto said the town has been in desperate need of roadwork for a long time, and the $40,000, zero percent interest loan will help them out tremendously.
(WVNews 10/3) Big crowds came out to see the newest in energy field technology Wednesday afternoon at the second annual West Virginia Energy Expo. Held at the Mylan Park Community Center and hosted by Morgantown-based marketing agency The Stick Company, the expo held dozens of booths showcasing the latest ware of energy and energy-centric agencies. Anderson Equipment Company salesman Brad Coleman ran a booth for Anderson, held outside to accommodate the construction equipment the company offers for purchase and rentals.
(Herald Mail-Media 10/3) About two months of construction time on the East Burke Street bridge-renovation project in Martinsburg has been lost due to this summer's above-average rainfall. "Weather has substantially impacted construction," Daniel Watts, District 5 construction engineer for the West Virginia Division of Highways, said Monday in an email. The $2.4 million project over Tuscarora Creek near the railroad underpass for CSX Corp. was projected to be completed in summer 2019. (Contractor: Orders Construction Company, Inc., Rock Forge Bridge)
(WVNews 10/4) The contract bid for a paving project on the Coalfields Expressway was approved Wednesday, according to Gov. Jim Justice. The project will consist of paving a stretch of road approximately 8.87 miles between Mullens, in Wyoming County, and Slab Fork, in Raleigh County, according to a release from Justice's office. The project was funded by General Obligation Bonds. The award was granted to the Kokosing Construction Company, Inc. of Columbus, Ohio. The bid was $44.3 million.
(The Parkersburg News and Sentinel 10/4) The Parkersburg Utility Board is considering attacking sanitary sewer overflows from a different perspective, offering customers an incentive to install devices to prevent basement flooding. During the board’s regular meeting Wednesday, utility Manager Eric Bennett said the Preventive Plumbing Incentive Program is a way “to help the customers help themselves.” Under the proposed parameters, the PUB would reimburse customers for 90 percent of the cost of installing a backflow prevention valve, up to $1,500, although Bennett noted those amounts could change as the program is developed. Property owners would submit an application and sign a waiver, and the equipment would have to be inspected by PUB personnel prior to receiving the reimbursement.
(West Virginia MetroNews 10/4) Safer and more efficient: those are the hopes for Monongalia County Commission President Tom Bloom as another round of major road work gets underway in the Morgantown area. Some of the work is already underway — including widening on Mon Boulevard, lighting projects on Patteson Drive, and resurfacing to parts of River Road.
(The Journal 10/4) The W.Va. Division of Highways presented preliminary plans for a left-hand turn lane at the intersection of W.Va. 9 and Mary Street in Hedgesville to residents at the Town Council meeting on Wednesday night. More than 20 residents attended the Hedgesville Town Council meeting to see the DOH’s proposed left turn lane plan that calls for building a 120-foot left lane on W.Va. 9 heading east toward Martinsburg. DOH traffic engineer Ken Clohan presented residents with copies of its engineer sketch drawings and fielded questions.
(The Parkersburg News and Sentinel 10/4) Williamstown Elementary School continues to raise funds for playgrounds and outside learning spaces for the new Williamstown-area elementary school. The school is being built on the site of the former Fenton Art Glass factory and is paid for through a facilities bond approved by Wood County voters. That bond did not include money for playground equipment, and while the state requires certain kinds of playground facilities at schools, it doesn’t provide funding. Assistant Principal Suzy Schofield said the cost to build a pre-kindergarten/kindergarten playground and a grades 1-5 playground, as well as other on-campus outdoor facilities such as a walking track and basketball court, is estimated to be about $175,000.
(The Weston News 10/4) Lewis County school officials are preparing to roll out a fundraising campaign to raise $1.25 million for a turf field and gymnasium improvements at Lewis County High School. The campaign is titled “Conquer the Complex” and started last year, though officials have yet to hold any events or ask for donations from the general public. So far, officials have been having conversations with potential corporate sponsors, setting donor levels and planning for a donor recognition wall or monument, said Dustin Cogar, football coach and assistant principal at the high school.
(Bluefield Daily Telegraph 10/4) The West Virginia Turnpike’s new E-ZPass deal is now available and passenger car motorists already with a pass are not paying any tolls at all. As part of the restructuring of the turnpike fees, the state Parkways Authority is offering an E-ZPass for only $24 for passenger cars, allowing motorists unlimited use the turnpike for the next three years without paying the tolls. But the deal will end on Dec. 31. After that, the cost of the pass will be $25 a year for unlimited use with no tolls. Wayne Webb, director of Parkways Authority customer service, said those who already have a pass and a credit card on file will see the $24 automatically charged to their account.
(The Herald-Dispatch 10/4) Drivers are being diverted to one lane across the 5th Street Bridge in Huntington's Southside as West Virginia Department of Transportation crews begin eventual replacement of the 97-year-old structure. It's part of a $3.7 million project announced by the WVDOT in May 2017 to replace the 5th Street Bridge and 8th Street Bridge, which have fallen into poor conditions since construction in the early 1920s. The replacement is expected to cost approximately $2,063,400. Consultant for the project is Michael Baker Corporation, a Charleston-based civil engineering firm.
(West Virginia MetroNews 10/4) The state Parkways Authority has more than doubled its customer service staff to handle the volume of applications associated with the new single fee EZ Pass program for the West Virginia Turnpike. Fifteen-thousand new individual EZ Pass accounts have been created in recent months as motorists look to take advantage of the one-time three-year $24 unlimited use pass for passenger vehicles.
(Office of the Governor 10/4) Gov. Jim Justice said today that on Tuesday the state of West Virginia sold $55.2 million in excess lottery revenue bonds, issued through the West Virginia Economic Development Authority, to fund $60 million in state park improvement projects to promote economic development and help grow tourism.
(The Weirton Daily Times 10/4) LafargeHolcim, on Wednesday, announced the completion of a multi-million-dollar project restoring and expanding its terminal facility in Weirton. The site had been inactive for approximately 10 years, according to company officials, and now will be used to store and distribute the company’s specialty well cements for the oil and gas industry.
(WVNews 10/4) The members of Clarksburg City Council unanimously approved awarding a contract to address an embankment failure on Quarry Drive during their meeting Thursday evening. The contract, awarded to Alma-based Rock Forge Bridge in the amount of $513,285, is the fifth embankment failure project contact awarded by the city since August. The bid opening for the Quarry Drive project was held Tuesday, and the city received four bids, said City Manager Martin Howe.
(Charleston Gazette-Mail 10/4) The Kanawha County Public Library’s plan to renovate and expand its downtown branch cleared a hurdle Wednesday when the Charleston Municipal Planning Commission OK’d what was essentially a property swap between the city and the library. The Planning Commission voted to recommend the city give the library about 350 square feet of a right of way at the corner of Summers and Quarrier streets on the Quarrier Street side. The additional space would allow the city to build an entrance, said Bryan Estep, of Silling Architects. The library also plans to build a sky bridge over Quarrier Street.
(Charleston Gazette-Mail 10/4) This past year, West Virginia’s economic growth rate was ranked highest of any state in the country, thanks in part to an uptick of manufacturing across industries and the sustained growth of our natural gas industry. As we approach national Manufacturing Day, these economic trends are encouraging news, with more opportunities on the horizon offering a promising, bright future for the Mountain State. Recent developments including China Energy’s plans to invest $83 billion here, the construction of Shell’s ethane cracker in Pennsylvania that will be supplied with West Virginia-produced ethane, Proctor & Gamble’s investments to grow its Martinsburg facility and expansions of Hino and Toyota, further demonstrate West Virginia’s bright manufacturing outlook. And the opportunity for growth doesn’t end there.
(Herald-Mail Media 10/4) Hedgesville Town Council members got their first look Wednesday night at the West Virginia Division of Highways' plans for a proposed left-turn lane on W.Va. 9 to help prevent traffic from backing up west of town. Ken Clohan Jr., District Five traffic engineer for the highways division, made the presentation and said nothing is definite since the proposal is in its early stages. It is aimed at facilitating traffic flow on the increasingly busy highway where a 2016 traffic study showed more than 16,000 vehicles pass daily, he said.
(WVNews 10/5) The West Virginia National Guard’s adjutant general, Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, Friday issued an update on the RISE West Virginia flooding recovery case management status: This week, five more homes passed final inspections by the WVNG’s Quality Assistance/Quality Control team and are now considered “construction complete.” This brings the total number of completed homes to 32.
(Office of the Governor 10/5) Sunday, October 7, 2018, marks the first anniversary of the passage of Gov. Jim Justice’s historic Roads to Prosperity Bond Program that is infusing billions of dollars into modernizing and improving West Virginia’s transportation system through repairs to our existing roads and bridges and new construction. “I promised West Virginians that if they supported my Roads to Prosperity plan that it would not only let us get out and fix our current roads and bridges but it would also bring new construction projects, provide thousands of jobs and really boost our economy beyond belief,” Gov. Justice said. “And that’s exactly what’s happening and is going to continue to happen for years to come. Our new and improved roads will bring increased tourism and new manufacturing to West Virginia.”
(Charleston Gazette-Mail 10/6) While the opening of The Highlands at Sugar Grove, a 28-day substance abuse treatment center taking shape on the former U.S. Navy Information Operations Command installation in Pendleton County, has been postponed twice, the project “continues to progress toward opening its doors.” That’s the word from Meridian Behavioral Health Systems CEO Wes Mason, whose company is converting the 123-acre former Navy base into a 95-bed residential treatment center for substance abusers.
(The Dominion Post 10/6) The West Virginia Division of Highways (DOH) is considering substantial changes to the two-year-old I-79 interchange (Exit 153), between the University Town Centre and hundreds of acres of ongoing development. DOH Spokesman Brent Walker told The Dominion Post the scale of the development under way by WestRidge Inc. has division officials concerned the roundabout located at the exit won’t be able to handle the increase in traffic once all the construction is complete.
(Herald-Mail Media 10/6) Growth pays for growth. That is the basic principle that Berkeley County's publicly run water and sewer districts are promoting in a renewed bid to implement capacity improvement fees. The fees would only affect the construction of new homes or businesses and would not increase the cost of water and sewer service to existing customers. They could be fully in place by February 2020, according to an implementation timeline presented to the Berkeley County Council on Thursday.
(Charleston Gazette-Mail 10/7) As it winds through Jefferson County, W.Va. 9 cuts through sprawling fields with long grass, past acres of soybeans, corn and apple trees. Nestled along the road in Ranson is North Jefferson Elementary School, where about 300 students attend. Right across the road, developers want to build a 460,000-square-foot coal- and gas-fired manufacturing plant called Rockwool. The plant would create stone wool insulation — and emit potentially hazardous material, like formaldehyde and particulate matter through smokestacks.
(The Journal 10/7) The Eastern Panhandle has become no stranger to construction. From Inwood to alternating areas of Interstate 81, the traffic cones, lane closures and heavy machinery seem inescapable at times. Construction and road work are necessary evils of living somewhere with roads that accommodate a lot of drivers and in places where roadways are maintained. It can be frustrating to find yourself in slow-moving or completely halted traffic or driving in areas full of machinery and workers, but staying safe and prepared can ease the experience.
(The Exponent Telegram 10/7) West Virginia University has taken another step forward in beefing up its entrepreneurship ecosystem with the Board of Governors having approved the creation of the College of Business and Economics Startup Engine. The startup engine is intended to help new businesses hone their ideas further and develop mentor relationships and partner with existing businesses. It is also meant to build upon WVU’s role as an R1 research institution while complementing the other 14 business support entities on campus.
(WVNews 10/8) West Virginia research just got a big boost, with the EPA awarding a $100,000 grant to the WVU Research Corp. The grant, part of the Environmental Education Grants Program, will go toward the development of environmental education and stewardship opportunities throughout the state. According to the EPA, the focus of the grant will be on improving water quality in local streams. Among the funded programs will be a water monitoring and environmental restoration project.
(The Intelligencer 10/8) Contracting for major highway projects promised to West Virginia voters in exchange for their approval of a $1.6 billion bond package has been somewhat of a roller coaster ride for state officials — including one big free-fall drop involving Interstate 70 in Ohio County. During the past couple of weeks, Gov. Jim Justice has announced awarding of contracts for four big projects, in Berkeley, Lewis, Mercer and Wyoming counties.
(The Intelligencer 10/9) The work might have to be ripped out later, but the Ohio County Board of Education unanimously voted Monday night to add heating and ventilation upgrades at Wheeling Park High School to a list of energy improvement projects set to happen next summer. Proposed energy upgrades at WPHS and other properties in Ohio County Schools account for $6.35 million of a $76 million property improvement plan approved by voters earlier this year. The early improvements at WPHS — the largest building in the school district — is expected to save Ohio County Schools about $160,000 next year, according to representatives with McKinley & Associates and the CMTA Engineering firm.
(Bluefield Daily Telegraph 10/9) The Monroe County School Board is taking a different path toward trying to build a badly needed new school for students after county voters rejected two bond referendums last year. If either of those referendums had passed, it would have allowed the county to use $16 million in state funding for a new school. Keith Wickline, president of the board, said he and schools Superintendent Joetta Basile will go before the state School Board Authority later this month and request $21 million to build the new $24 million school for elementary and middle school students in Peterstown.
(The Exponent Telegram 10/9) Members of Bridgeport City Council unanimously passed a resolution authorizing a financial firm to seek banks interested in purchasing bonds to finance the Bridgeport Indoor Sports and Recreation Complex project during their Monday meeting. The resolution authorizes Crews & Associates, Inc., to act as a placement agent to solicit proposals for private placement of municipal sales tax revenue bonds from prospective purchasers, said Bridgeport Mayor Andy Lang.
(Herald-Dispatch 10/9) Crews from Custom Playgrounds installed a "Tree 4 All" tree house, made from glass fiber, reinforced concrete and weighing more than 13,000 pounds, at St. Cloud Commons on Monday. The playground is a project of the Greater Huntington Park and Recreation District, which is still fund-raising to complete the next two construction phases. The entire project is expected to cost approximately $1.2 million, including wheelchair accessible equipment and activities for all ages.
(Bluefield Daily Telegraph 10/9) Recently local motorists have noticed a new feature on a cleared site along Blue Prince Road, a series of white walls forming the structure of the area’s newest elementary school. Construction crews have been working steadily to raise the structure of the new Mountain Valley Elementary School in Green Valley. When completed, the $12 million facility will take the place of the aging Ceres Elementary School in Green Valley and the Cumberland Early Learning Center in Bluefield. It will also serve students in the Glenwood School area. (Designer: ZMM Architects and Engineers; Sub-Contractor: Brewer & Company of West Virginia, Inc.)
(The Intelligencer 10/9) The West Virginia Division of Highways has announced several upcoming road projects, including one that will affect traffic driving W.Va. 2 through Moundsville for several months. Starting Wednesday, the McDonald’s Upper Plaza Project, along W.Va. 2 in Moundsville, will be transitioning to Phase 2 of the project. Under Phase 2, there will be one southbound lane and one northbound lane for through traffic. In addition to those two lanes, there will be a dedicated center lane for left-turning vehicles accessing businesses along the project route.