(The Preston County News & Sentinel 7/16) Bad roads are still a main subject throughout the county, and Preston County Commissioner Samantha Stone gave an update on what she knows is happening in the county. “I attended a group meeting of the North Preston Area Watch last Thursday,” Stone said. “They are coordinating a grassroots effort about the bad roads in the county.” Stone said the group has petitions throughout Preston County about the “Bad, Bad Roads” and have approximately 3,000 signatures already.
(West Virginia MetroNews 7/16) Pending final approval from a federal agency, the Mercer County Airport will have public water service for the first time. Gov. Jim Justice was at the airport Tuesday afternoon for a ceremonial grant presentation. Justice is recommending a transfer of $250,000 of the state’s Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) funds to the project that’s being handled by the Bluewell Public Service District.
(West Virginia MetroNews 7/16) The U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee passed nearly two dozen bills on Tuesday, including legislation requiring a study on the benefits of a possible ethane storage hub in Appalachia. If the Appalachian Energy for National Security Act becomes law, the Department of Energy would have to conduct a study on the effects of such facility as well as the risks associated with foreign ownership and control of American petrochemical resources.
(Herald-Mail Media 7/16) Demolition of the nearly 40-year-old tennis courts at P.O. Faulkner Park in Martinsburg could begin in the next couple of weeks now that a large chunk of the funding needed for the project has been identified. About $45,000 in private donations, including $10,000 from the Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation, has been raised for the project, Steve Catlett, executive director of Martinsburg-Berkeley County (W.Va.) Parks and Recreation, told board members Tuesday. An additional $30,000 in funding appropriated to the board by the Martinsburg City Council for capital improvements also will be put toward the project, Catlett said.
(The Dominion Post 7/16) Paving crews were on Green Street on Tuesday as part of Morgantown’s $1.8 million 2019 paving plan. According to the city’s paving schedule, work will continue today on Green Street, between Arch Street and Wilson Avenue. Paving is also expected to begin today on Deckers Avenue, from the dead end to Pennsylvania Avenue. As for the rest of the week, work is tentatively slated for Kingwood Street from Deckers Avenue to Brockway Avenue on Thursday, and on East Brockway Avenue from W.Va. 7 to Pennsylvania Avenue on Friday. (Contractor: Anderson Excavating, LLC)
(The Register-Herald 7/17) Beckley Common Council has taken the first step to add parking in downtown Beckley – through the planned demolition of a historic building on the Raleigh County Historic Register. And that is raising a ruckus. Last week, council passed the first reading of an ordinance that will allow the city to purchase the Burleson building from United Bank for $111,000. The building sits at the northeast corner of Earwood Street and Woodlawn Avenue The building is listed as No. 31 on the Raleigh County Historic Register, but a specific history of the building is not listed on the site.
(The Dominion Post 7/17) We’re gonna need a bigger calendar. It’s more apparent than ever that the governor’s secondary road repair initiative is not fast enough for anyone. Despite recent boasts of the state Division of Highways commissioner that more has been done in one fiscal quarter than in one full year in the past you could fool us. Actually, we’re not fooled and by the looks of things neither are residents in surrounding counties and probably statewide.
(The Parkersburg News and Sentinel 7/17) The Warren Local Schools Board of Education Monday approved a resolution for the removal of a gas line at the site where a school is being built. The board approved a resolution to allow Superintendent Kyle Newton to contract for the line’s removal. The district is building two schools and expanding and renovating a third on the Warrior Drive property, funded by the passage of a bond levy in 2017. The foundation is under way for the elementary school and site preparation has begun for the high school. The project is budgeted at more than $63 million. The district already has struck an agreement to cap two gas wells on the property.
(ConstructionEquipmentGuide.com 7/17) Cleveland Brothers Equipment Co., Inc., the exclusive Cat dealer of Pennsylvania, northern West Virginia and western Maryland, has partnered with seven Cat dealers in the central and eastern United States to form a new independent truck service network group called RIG360. "We are excited to join the new RIG360 truck service network and what it means for our customers," said Vince Meinert, Cleveland Brothers vice president of energy and transportation. "By combining with other dedicated truck service Cat dealers, we will be able to support our customers with expert bumper-to-bumper service, whether they are driving through Kansas, Pennsylvania, Tennessee or Georgia."
(WVNews 7/17) Legislation that would commit the federal government to conduct a study on the potential benefits of the proposed Appalachian Storage Hub came one step closer to becoming law Tuesday as it passed out of committee in the U.S. Senate. Under the Appalachian Energy for National Security Act, the U.S. Department of Energy would look into the potential economic and national security benefits the hub would have on the region and the country.
(WVNews 7/17) North Central West Virginia Airport is set to receive more than $1 million in federal funding, according to West Virginia’s U.S. Senate representatives. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said Wednesday that $4,134,446 from the U.S. Department of Transportation will go toward improvement projects at Yeager Airport in Charleston and NCWV Airport in Bridgeport.
(Charleston Gazette-Mail 7/17) The state School Building Authority’s board postponed earlier this week voting on extensive proposed policy changes. The delay came after SBA Executive Director David Roach said attorneys still hadn’t finished fully reviewing the proposals. The SBA staff and board had placed the proposals out for a public comment period, which ended July 5, without having yet had the legal review. After expressing confusion and discussing their options Monday, board members decided to delay action until the review is done. In the case, about renovations to the West Virginia Lottery Building in Charleston, the state Supreme Court upheld Kanawha Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Bailey’s decision to award the Lottery renovations contract to the lowest bidder. That lowest bidder was Maynard C. Smith Construction Co.
(Charleston Gazette-Mail 7/17) Employees from W.Q. Waters Company, of Charleston, work on painting the east wing of the state Capitol on Wednesday afternoon.
(Herald-Mail Media 7/17) A Scott Depot, W.Va., company was awarded a nearly $2.5 million project to renovate 13 traffic signals in Martinsburg, according to the West Virginia Department of Transportation. Pritchard Signal & Light Company is anticipated to begin work in late August or early September, with completion projected by the end of October 2020, transportation department spokesman Brent Walker wrote Wednesday in an email. The project includes new pedestrian poles, base-mounted cabinets and installation of sidewalk-curb ramps at signaled intersections along U.S. 11, W.Va. 45 and W.Va. 9, according to a transportation department project description.
(Charleston Gazette-Mail 7/18) When it comes to upgrading West Virginia’s infrastructure, the immediate thought is generally of potholes on highways or cracks and slips on secondary roads. And there’s no question those problems need to be addressed. But there’s another infrastructure conundrum facing the state and, indeed, the country, and that’s infrastructure no longer in use. A pertinent example is the high rail trestle that extends over the Kanawha River in Charleston’s West Side. Built in 1907, the span was last renovated in the 1950s, and hasn’t been in use since the 1980s.
(Bluefield Daily Telegraph 7/18) Groundbreaking for on-campus housing at Bluefield State College is set for Aug. 17, with 60 rooms in two separate dorms slated to be ready for occupancy for the 2020-21 school year. BSC President Robin Capehart made the announcement Wednesday morning, highlighting the historic groundbreaking and other activities during that “Big Blue Experience Weekend,” Aug. 16-18, including the rededication of the college’s library. “This will be first on-campus housing in more than 50 years,” he said, and when the overall project is eventually complete the campus will have housing for 140 students.
(The Herald-Dispatch 7/18) New senior living housing is being built in the 900 block of Adams Avenue in Huntington's West End. "The West Village will feature 47 apartments for older adults, ages 55 and over," said Chris Kosarek, president of Charleston-based Pison Management, the company developing the project. The new "West Village" building will have approximately 20 on-site parking spaces, according to Kosarek. The main contractor for the project is High Point Construction Group, LLC, which is based in Buckhannon, West Virginia.
(The Register-Herald 7/18) Work continues on the new Oak Hill Middle School in Oak Hill on Wednesday. The school’s faculty and staff members have been meeting throughout the summer to work on a strategic plan for the upcoming school year. Discussion has centered around topics such as creating a cohesive structure and a climate of high expectations, fostering a safe and orderly environment, and offering effective school leadership, research-based instructional strategies, professional development and continuous improvement, according to an earlier story by Lavada Whitt in The Fayette Tribune. (Architects: ZMM Architects and Engineers)
(The Parkersburg News and Sentinel 7/18) Motorists may experience traffic delays in the coming weeks as paving projects begin in Jackson, Wirt and Pleasants counties, the West Virginia Department of Highways said. In Jackson County, crews Wednesday began resurfacing Jackson County Route 10/4 from milepost 3.17 to milepost 8.65. A flagman will be present, but drivers should expect significant delays and alternative routes are advised.
(The Intelligencer 7/18) Madison School is set to have a renovated playground and central office area before students return to the classrooms next month, but additional work happening there likely will stretch to the end of the year. This week, construction crews could be seen demolishing the playground, preparing it for asphalt and new fencing. Inside the building, the central office has been totally deconstructed and reconfigured to accommodate office space for the principal, guidance counselor, secretary and prevention resource office. There’s still much more work to be done, but crews have assured school officials the office and playground areas will be usable by the time school starts on Aug. 15.
(The Morgantown News 7/18) The growth of WVU Medicine shows no signs of slowing down, but one thing that is nearing the finish line is more parking opportunities for patients and visitors to the hospital system. Several construction projects are underway at the campus of J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital to address the growing need for space, given the expansion in cancer, heart and vascular, neuroscience and pediatrics services.
(Charleston Gazette-Mail 7/18) The Kanawha County Board of Education Thursday unanimously approved spending about $152,000 to replace Nitro High’s gym floor. The school board members awarded the contract to South Charleston-based R.M. Huffman Co. Architectural Interior Products Inc., which has several West Virginia locations and one in Virginia, bid $171,000, and Cincinnati Floor Co. bid $255,000. Also at Thursday’s meeting, board members accepted the resignations, effective this month, of Richmond Elementary Principal Jordan McBride and Dunbar Intermediate Principal Jennifer Spencer. Carol Hamric, the county school system’s human resources executive director, said they’re moving.
(FOX11 7/18) Solar panels were being added Thursday on two parking garages at Yeager Airport as part of a cost-savings effort. The project has been several years in the making, Airport Director Terry Sayre said. The solar panels will supply power to both parking garages. They also provide coverage from the weather on the top floors.
(Bluefield Daily Telegraph 7/19) A West Virginia Department of Highways crew started repairing a sinkhole Thursday which has impeded traffic along Princeton Avenue in Bluefield since September 2018. The DOH crew was digging into the missing lane while motorists waited their turns at a red light that’s been in place since the sinkhole appeared. “We’re just trying to dig and see what’s in there, if there’s any rock or anything solid,” crew chief Allen Scarbro said. “We’re going to back fill it with some big rocks and concrete, then pave over it.”
(The Herald-Dispatch 7/19) The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission has set aside $17,069,809 for a new K-12 school building for the Green school district off Gallia Pike, according to a news release. Voters in the Scioto County school district last November approved a new property tax by a 63 percent level for the school system. The property tax will set aside $6,972,175 to pay for the $24 million school building. "There was a lot of support in the district for a new school," said Jodi Armstrong, Green superintendent. "The community really came together to support our schools."
(WVNews 7/19) Two park improvement projects, one in Charleston and another in Preston County, have been selected to receive a grant through the AARP Community Challenge program. According to a release from AARP West Virginia, the projects were the only two in the state selected for grants. The program has awarded grants throughout the nation, totaling $1.6 million being given to more than 150 recipients. The goal of the program is to create change and improve quality of life at the community level, according to the release.
(Office of the Governor 7/19) Gov. Jim Justice announced today that he has requested $2 million from the West Virginia Infrastructure Jobs Development Council to help fund the construction of a new United States Customs building at Yeager Airport. “We want to make the airport here in our capital an international gateway,” Gov. Justice said. “Our airport here needs to be a showcase; a showcase for not only just our state, but for the world. “We needed $2 million, and we looked and looked,” Gov. Justice continued. “And, at the end of the day, we found the money and we’re going to build the customs building.”
(The Herald-Dispatch 7/19) After three years of planning and a year of construction and renovation, the new Delta Hotels by Marriott made its opening official with a ribbon cutting ceremony and a Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours event Thursday afternoon. "This is a really big day for us," said Wade Midkiff, CEO of Uptowner Inns Inc., the company that owns and manages the Delta Hotels by Marriott in downtown Huntington, as well as the one that recently opened at the Huntington Mall in Barboursville. "It's time for us to begin operating these hotels instead of building them."
(West Virginia MetroNews 7/19) Four years, four months and four days after the hillside collapsed at Yeager Airport in Charleston the emergency stopping system that was damaged and replaced was commissioned for use. U.S. Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito, Gov. Jim Justice, the Kanawha County Commission and others were on hand for a ceremony Friday afternoon moved indoors because of the excessive heat.
(The Herald-Dispatch 7/19) A year ago, people driving the West Virginia Turnpike paid $6 in tolls to get from Charleston to Bluefield - three tolls of $2 each. This year the tolls have doubled, so the one-way trip now costs $12, or $24 for a round trip. The higher price of tolls apparently has not had a significant impact on travel on the Turnpike. Doug Ratliff, director of tolls for the West Virginia Turnpike Authority, says traffic on the Turnpike as measured by transactions at the four toll booths - the three on the Turnpike itself and one at an exit at Beckley - are up about half a percent this year.
(West Virginia Press 7/21) Big promises were made by Gov. Jim Justice’s administration in 2017, in order to convince West Virginia voters to approve $1.6 billion in bond sales for the “Roads to Prosperity” initiative. The question now is whether those pledges will be fulfilled. Brooke County commissioners agreed this week to send a letter to the state Department of Transportation, regarding the highway and bridge improvement program. “We learned we may have the money seriously or the projects removed altogether,” explained Commissioner Tim Ennis.
(The Parkersburg News and Sentinel 7/21) Nearly $100 million is being invested in the site preparation for a proposed ethane cracker plant in Belmont County. JobsOhio, a private nonprofit economic development organization, awarded a $30 million revitalization grant to PTT Global Chemical America of Thailand and Daelim Industrial Co. of South Korea, which have partnered in the possible construction of a petrochemical plant along the Ohio River in Mead Township at Dilles Bottom, south of Shadyside. The companies have committed $65 million for the site work through JobsOhio for a total investment of $95 million.
(The Intelligencer 7/21) Members of Wheeling City Council are considering enacting a $2 city service fee to fund a proposed public safety building in East Wheeling. The service fee, also known as a user fee, would function as a weekly tax on people who work in Wheeling and would pay for the $14.5 million facility intended to house the city’s police and fire departments.
Several members of council said Friday they think enacting the fee is the best course of action for the city, while one member, Councilwoman Wendy Scatterday, said she doesn’t yet support the move.
(The Intelligencer 7/22) Two of the bridges that span Wheeling Creek near Tunnel Green, known as the “I-70 Fulton Bridges” will be replaced as part of West Virginia’s extensive I-70 Bridges Project. The project is proposing to rehabilitate or replace 26 bridges on Interstate 70 in Ohio County over a nearly three-year construction schedule. With preliminary phases of the overall project expected to begin later this year, West Virginia Division of Highways District Six Construction Engineer Joe Juszczak said it is a combination of the rusting steel and eroding concrete on the Fulton Bridges that have earmarked the two spans for “full” replacement.
(Bluefield Daily Telegraph 7/22) Allowing West Virginia Department of Highways districts to bid out maintenance and repair projects they cannot address immediately to private contractors is an idea being explored by a state senator representing Mercer County. State Sen. Mark R. Maynard, R-6th District, said recently that he is asking Gov. Jim Justice to bid out road repairs that the DOH can’t get to. Justice led the charge on the “Roads to Prosperity” bond sale referendum, and the state of West Virginia voted in favor of it. It allows the sale of bonds, which is basically borrowing money, counting on future income of the state to repay over $1 billion dollars which will be used basically for road repair and expansion.
(Public News Service 7/22) A West Virginia construction union is working to put more women on the job, and one woman says she likes working in construction so well, she wishes she would have started sooner. Leona Messer of Alum Creek finished an apprenticeship last December, and is now a working member of the Laborers' Union Local 1353. While some women might assume a construction job isn't a good fit, Messer says there's a solid career path as long as they're willing to take on the hard, physical work.
(HuntingtonNews.Net 7/22) West Virginia American Water and The Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences are partnering to present Water Day at The Clay, a free, interactive opportunity for guests to learn about water, on Thursday, August 1 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The event will be held in The Clay Center’s Grand Lobby and along the front plaza. “It is critical to educate the next generation and our customers on our valuable water resources, as well as the treatment and delivery methods our team utilizes to keep water flowing in hundreds of communities around West Virginia,” said Robert Burton, president of West Virginia American Water. “We are fortunate to have an educational partner like The Clay Center that invests in opportunities to highlight such a vital resource.”
(WVNews 7/22) Almost $10 million in federal grant funding has been announced for a project to move W.Va. 2 away from the Ohio River and align it with W.Va. 29 in Wetzel and Marshall counties, according to the offices of U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. The project is designed to help create space for economic development and industrial manufacturing, officials said.
(The Exponent Telegram 7/22) The Harrison County Commission hopes to begin some work on rail-trail construction in-house to more quickly and inexpensively bridge gaps in development.
The Harrison County Rail Trail system currently consists of completed segments without the connections that would allow for a through-hike of the trail in any direction. At the direction of the Harrison County Commission, a new task team including county administrators, representatives of the county’s Planning, Maintenance, Grant Writing and Parks and Recreation departments, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and Harrison Rail-Trails has submitted preliminary recommendations and will continue to meet regularly.
(West Virginia MetroNews 7/22) The state Legislature is moving a bill meant to give the financially-troubled Pleasants Power Station a better chance of staying alive. “Without this legislation, the likely outcome is the plant will close,” John Judge, president and CEO of FirstEnergy Solutions told delegates on Monday. The House Finance Committee on Monday afternoon unanimously advanced a bill meant to give the plant some financial breathing room. The full House of Delegates will vote on the bill Tuesday during a continued special session.
(West Virginia MetroNews 7/22) The House of Delegates approved a pair of resolutions Monday authorizing Gov. Jim Justice to be able to go back to Wall Street and sell road bonds for an additional $800 million as part of the Roads to Prosperity program approved by voters in October 2017. House Finance Committee Chairman Eric Householder, R-Berkeley, told delegates the Justice administration is interested in going to the bond market now because of low interest rates.
(The Intelligencer 7/23) State highway officials on Monday told city officials they will keep the 170-year-old Wheeling Suspension Bridge closed for another month as they make repairs and improvements after a tour bus went across the span more than a month ago. Along with making structural repairs, one of the plans the state will enact will be to put a hard barrier at the bridge’s entrances downtown and on Wheeling Island. This would stop vehicles such as dump trucks and tour buses from crossing the span.
(Bluefield Daily Telegraph 7/23) Workers started using a crane rising higher Monday than downtown Bluefield’s tallest building so they can install a new roof; the projects among the renovations happening at the West Virginian Manor and other downtown Bluefield buildings. A crane was parked in the Scott Street parking lot across the street from the West Virginian Manor so work on a new roof could get underway, according to Lori Mills, city building inspector. The neighboring Summit Community Bank drive-through banking window and ATM, which are accessible through Scott Street, will be open while work is underway.
(The Jounal 7/23) The Town of Bath Streetscape Committee is seeking up-front emergency funding to provide to the Department of Transportation’s Division of Highways in order to move forward with Streetscape Phase 4A flood control and beautification improvements in town, and North Berkeley Rail Trail project. The town is working with DOH on remediation of contaminated soil on a lot near the train depot that’s part of the Rail Trail route, and a project on North Washington Street at Congress Street. Streetscapes Committee members spoke with Town of Bath officials and the Morgan County Commission this week on short-term funding.
(The Journal 7/23) Morgan County Commissioners have approved a bid by a Jane Lew company to complete a wind load study on five county-owned towers. This is the next step in the county’s progress to bring reliable, fast internet to residents. Commissioners also stipulated the county’s EDA to be their representative with West Virginia Department of Highways on progress of the proposed Route 522 Bypass. County Administrator Stephanie Allemong said she had spoken with all three bidders and given them a lot of detailed information ahead of time. The first was $23,000 by Reese Tower Services of Drums, Pa. Turnaround time was estimated at eight to 10 weeks. The second was from Premier Construction Group of Jane Lew at $22,700. Allemong said that company completed the construction of the Purslane Tower and was familiar with the other towers. Estimated turnaround time was four to six weeks. Griswold Tower Software, Inc., of Matthews, N. Carolina, had the lowest bid of $10,100 with a two-week turnaround. Commissioners approved Premier for $22,700.
(The Parkersburg News and Sentinel 7/23) The state of West Virginia will receive about $9.4 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation toward the expansion of W.Va. 2 to four lanes from Proctor to Kent in Wetzel and Marshall counties, West Virginia’s two U.S. senators announced on Monday. The funds are through the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant program for freight, highway and multimodal projects around the country, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said. In the past, rural areas like West Virginia have been disadvantaged in the allocation process, he said.
(The Intelligencer 7/23) Interstate 470 eastbound will be closed today and Thursday each night from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. between Exit 2 and the Interstate 70 junction to allow for Kokosing Construction Company to work on the Chapel Road Bridge over I-470 in Bethlehem. A detour will be posted. Motorists are advised to be alert for changing traffic patterns and expect delays. Inclement weather or unforeseen circumstances could change the project schedule. Meanwhile, I-70 westbound will be reduced to one lane at mile marker 7.0 today through Thursday.