(The Preston County News & Journal 4/10) Preston County commissioners have invited the other county commissions within West Virginia Division of Highways District 4 to discuss the poor state of the region’s roads. “It sounds like many of us have the same problems,” commission President Craig Jennings said, “at least from what I am hearing.”
(WVNews 4/10) The Clarksburg Water Board will not need to raise customer rates for at least the next year, according to general manager Dick Welch. “Once again, we are absorbing the additional costs without increasing rates for the next 12 months,” he said. “This makes five consecutive fiscal years without a water rate increase.”
(WVNews 4/10) More economic partnership between Pittsburgh and North Central West Virginia may be in the works soon, as Pittsburgh officials and regional business leaders continue discussions. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto spoke to a crowd of North Central West Virginia business officials Tuesday at the fourth annual Bridges Without Boundaries Business Summit at the Robert H. Mollohan Research Center in Fairmont.
(WVNews 4/10) The West Virginia Manufacturers Association will host its 2018 Marcellus and Manufacturing Development Conference next Monday and Tuesday at the Marriott Waterfront Place Hotel in Morgantown. The conference will feature a natural gas expo sponsored by the Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia and the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association.
(WVNews 4/10) More than $28 million in federal funding to fix roads and bridges damaged by flooding is heading to West Virginia. U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito and Rep. Evan Jenkins announced the funding Tuesday from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The state Department of Transportation will receive $15.6 million for various projects, the U.S. Forest Service will receive $12.4 million for work in five counties, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will receive $213,000 for projects in Greenbrier County.
(The Journal 4/11) An Italian company’s inaugural manufacturing launch into North American took a major turn Tuesday in Jefferson County. Tonj Ciotti, the chief executive of TeMa North America, joined local officials in turning the first soil to begin the construction of a 42,000-square-foot industrial plant in the Burr Business Park in Kearneysville.
(The Garrett County Republican 4/11) A decades-long vision for a Community Education and Performing Arts Center on the Garrett College campus is moving forward. Gov. Larry Hogan included more than $11 million of state funding for the project in the FY 2020 and FY 2021 miscellaneous capital program. Architectural and engineering design work can take place in the 2019 fiscal year with prior authorized state funding and a local match from the Garrett County Board of Commissioners.
(The Parkersburg News and Sentinel 4/11) The low bidder for construction of a new elementary school in Williamstown was approved Tuesday after school board members said they were warned rejecting the bid could result in a lawsuit. The Wood County Board of Education on Tuesday approved Bluefield-based Swope Construction to build the Williamstown-Waverly Elementary School at a cost of $12.9 million. The school will be built on the site of the old Fenton Art Glass factory and gift shop in Williamstown. Officials hope to have the new school open by 2020.
(Bluefield Daily Telegraph 4/11) After nearly 10 years of waiting, Bluefield’s so-called “Bridge to Nowhere” should soon be going somewhere. And that’s a good news story for our region.
State Senator Chandler Swope, R-Mercer, has stayed in close contact with the West Virginia Department of Transportation on the project. Swope told me last month that he anticipates a design-build contract being awarded this spring for the next section of the King Coal Highway near Bluefield. As of this writing, we are still awaiting word on when that contract will be awarded.
(West Virginia MetroNews 4/11) U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., questioned Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao on Wednesday about multiple matters, including service on the New River Train and installing broadband fiber during road construction projects. Chao appeared before the Senate Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies in regards to the Department of Transportation’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
(West Virginia MetroNews 4/11) A public workshop will be held Thursday at Nicholas County High School regarding efforts to find a solution for building schools in Nicholas County. The meeting is being hosted by Consensus Building Institute, who is guiding the mediation team responsible for coming up with an agreement to present to Nicholas County Board of Education. The local board, as well as the West Virginia Board of Education, has to approve the plan.
(The Logan Banner 4/12) Kicking off what West Virginia Secretary of Transportation Tom Smith says will be a huge construction season is a 14-mile stretch of road between Milton and Teays Valley, West Virginia, that currently resembles the surface of the moon. Construction on Interstate 64 starting at Milton began Monday, April 9. The first phase of the project will reach just past the Hurricane, West Virginia, exit. (Contractor: West Virginia Paving, Inc.)
(MetroNews 4/12) A piece of land off of I-77 exit 1, just north of the East River Mountain Tunnel going into Virginia, could soon see development. Bluefield City Manager Dane Rideout explained to MetroNews affiliate WJLS the city recently put out a bid for a preliminary engineering report on the property. Essentially a feasibility study, the bid went to E.L. Robinson Engineering Co. of Beckley to see what type of construction can occur on the 80 acre site located east of I-77 along John Nash Boulevard.
(Governor Press Release 4/12) Gov. Jim Justice participated in a meeting this morning in Washington, D.C., with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. The meeting explored ways that the State of West Virginia and Qatar can work together to create economic partnerships that will benefit both the state of West Virginia and Qatar.
(The Intelligencer 4/12) Brooke County Commissioners continue communicating with West Virginia Division of Highways officials regarding the potential widening of W.Va. 2 to facilitate new development. During this week’s meeting, commissioners discussed a letter they received from the W.Va. 2 and Interstate 68 Authority. The letter requests the DOH to consider the feasibility of expanding the W.Va. 2 highway from two to four lanes.
(WVNews 4/12) The Harrison County Mayors’ Association heard an update on the Monticello Ongoing Revitalization Effort (M.O.R.E.) project and state Division of Highway plans during a meeting Wednesday at North Central West Virginia Airport. Jo Anne McNemar, substance abuse specialist with the Harrison County Prevention Partnership, discussed where the M.O.R.E. project is headed and how the Kelly Miller Community Center is going to be used.
(Markets Insider 4/12) West Virginia American Water customers can see their water bills at work on the company’s interactive web-based map of its 2018 infrastructure upgrade projects. This user-friendly map allows West Virginia American Water customers to view details about water main replacement projects and other water distribution system upgrades throughout the company’s service area.
(MetroNews 4/12) The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave Dominion Energy approval Thursday to construct pipe yards in both Upshur County, West Virginia and Halifax County, North Carolina, in anticipation of the construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. According to a company spokesman, the Upshur County site is located off of U.S. Route 33 approximately one mile up Brushy Fork. Plans are for a fairly large operation there.
(The Register-Herald 4/12) The West Virginia Parkways Authority has settled on times and locations for four public meetings to discuss the proposed new toll structure. A legal ad in Thursday's Register-Herald said the first meeting will be May 10 from 4 to 7:30 p.m. at Riverside High School in Belle, followed May 11 from 4 to 7:30 p.m. at the Fayette County Courthouse in Fayetteville; May 14 from 4 to 7:30 p.m. at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center, Rooms C-F; and May 15 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. May 15 at the Mercer County Courthouse in Princeton.
(The Exponent Telegram 4/12) For the 15th year in a row — a national record — Fairmont State University’s American Society of Civil Engineers concrete canoe team is going to the National Concrete Canoe Competition. The university held a press conference announcing the team’s news on Thursday, only a few weeks after the team scored a 99 out of 100 at March’s regional competition. Fairmont State University President Dr. Mirta Martin said that the streak is one of the many things that sets the school apart.
(Bluefield Daily Telegraph 4/13) Work on the “road to nowhere” portion of the King Coal Highway in Bluefield is still on track but may not begin as early as anticipated. The $40 million to $50 million project to extend the bridge for 3.8 miles to the Airport Road area, finally opening it up to traffic from Rt. 460 to Bluewell and McDowell County, was in the state Department of Highway’s six-year plan for work to begin in 2019.
(The Parkersburg News and Sentinel 4/13) The state of the county’s infrastructure through a rough winter was the topic of conversation at Thursday’s meeting of the Washington County Commissioners. Washington County Engineer Roger Wright presented his annual report on the condition of roads and bridges and said that wet weather has taken a toll.
(Bluefield Daily Telegraph 4/13) Area residents will have their turn to provide input on the new West Virginia Turnpike fee structure proposal at a public meeting in Mercer County May 15. The state Parkways Authority wants to go to a single fee discount program while doubling the current tolls. If the authority gives final approval after the public meetings, passenger vehicle tolls will double, from $2 at each plaza to $4. The rate now for a passenger car with an E-ZPass is $1.30. Commercial rates will also increase.
(The Register-Herald 4/13) Bids are now in hand, though not yet awarded, for the long-awaited Sam Black water extension project. Lesley D. Taylor, senior project specialist with Region 4 Planning and Development Council, said contracts should be awarded by the end of the current fiscal year, June 30. From that point on, the project should take about a year to complete, she said. Bids came in lower than expected, Taylor told county commissioners at a Tuesday morning meeting. Until contracts are signed, however, updated financial figures for the endeavor are unavailable. Around $10 million in funding has been secured for the project.
(WTOV9 4/13) The orange cones and merge signs started going up on Route 22 Friday afternoon, and a traveler can expect to see them until about the end of May. Both Route 22 east and west will be down to one lane between the Weirton downtown exit and the Harmon Creek exit. They will be taking that time to seal the joints, patching those potholes seen between the lanes.
(Herald-Mail Media 4/13) By March, site preparation, infrastructure development, demolition of the old hotel and construction of the new one will begin. Schaufeld said the construction project will mean 250 jobs and generate $3 million in taxes. Once opened, the complex will provide 100-plus jobs, add $1 million a year in taxes and increase property values in Harpers Ferry.
(Eer Sports 4/13) There is a woman who works in the athletic department. Her identity is being protected, and she may soon require security and chaperones for even the simplest navigation around town and on campus. "Even if you write about this and don't name her," West Virginia Athletic Director Shane Lyons said, "she's going to have people talking to her about it." WVU is going to change the appearance of the Coliseum court in the not-too-distant future, and that means a zillion different suggestion could come flying at the aforementioned athletic department employee who will handle the design.
(The Preston County News & Journal 4/13) Now that winter is officially over, Preston County roads are showing the wear and tear of the season. And the discussion of the condition of county roads was the main topic at Monday’s Preston County Commission meeting. Commissioners have received a list of roads the Division of Highways plan to work on in the county this year.
(Charleston Gazette-Mail 4/14) When Silling Architects designed Cabin Creek Health Systems’ new Sissonville Health Center, it had the area’s resilient community in mind. “That project just shows the toughness of Cabin Creek, and their commitment to small, community-based health care,” said Jody Driggs, principal of the Charleston-based Silling, of replacing the old clinic destroyed in a fire. The new, 10,600-square-foot health clinic was necessary after the old clinic met its demise in 2015. Its staff eventually set up shop at the old Bonham Elementary School as a temporary solution, where it repeatedly encountered issues with flooding.
(The Parkersburg News and Sentinel 4/14) City Council will consider allocating money for the annual paving project when it meets Tuesday. The meeting is slated for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in council chambers on the second floor of the Municipal Building, a week earlier than usual so the city can meet state code’s requirements to set the property tax levy rates for the year on the third Tuesday of April.
(The Journal 4/14) The USDA also has a program providing loans and loan guarantees for costs relating to the expansion of rural broadband access, such as costs for construction and acquiring facilities and equipment. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis through Sept. 30.
(Charleston Gazette-Mail 4/14) Some practical additions to the 250-acre park, funded through an Appalachian Regional Commission program and local groups, are expected to keep campers and other park-goers in the area for an extended stay. The Calhoun County Commission recently received roughly $300,000 for park improvements ranging from new restrooms and a shower house to power outlets in a dedicated stargazing area.
(The Parkersburg News and Sentinel 4/14) The Parkersburg Fire Department will have to make some adjustments when construction starts on the first of three new fire stations, hopefully this summer. Architect Pickering Associates, LLC plans to put the project to replace the 85-year-old station 2 out to bid in May, around the same time the city will apply for a federal Section 108 loan to fund the up-to-$1.5 million project. If the loan is approved — and preliminary comments from the Department of Housing and Urban Development have been positive, Development Director Rickie Yeager said — work on the new station is expected to begin in August.
(Charleston Gazette-Mail 4/14) Since then, the association has turned part of its focus to rebuilding lost bridges for those without the resources to rebuild on their own. They wanted structures that would withstand the force of floodwaters in the future, that wouldn’t wash away or break apart, forming unwanted dams that would push water upstream and flood properties. They also wanted bridges strong enough to hold ambulances and firetrucks, should they ever be needed.
(The Journal 4/15) A new mini-shopping plaza with three retail spaces–with a pizza restaurant already proposed for one of them–is planned to arise on a former auto repair site on the eastern-most end of Charles Town’s downtown commercial district.
(The Intelligencer. Wheeling News-Register 4/15) Mayor Glenn Elliott envisions a downtown in which one works in an office, lives in a loft apartment, buys locally grown vegetables and drinks freshly brewed craft beer, all while walking, cycling or taking an Uber ride between destinations. Within a few years, the former Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel tower may feature 90 more loft apartments, while housing projects are also in the works for the Flatiron Building and the former Gerrero Music building. City officials are planning a 550-space parking garage, at a cost of approximately $10 million, to be built across the street from the planned apartment tower.
(The Exponent Telegram 4/15) There is no doubt the pipelines will serve to generate thousands of construction jobs, be a huge boost to tax revenues and serve to jumpstart the natural gas companies to resume drilling activity, leading to thousands more jobs. As The State Journal’s Rusty Marks reveals in his story, the pipeline, which remains on schedule, is benefiting Monroe County, just as it is the other counties it passes through.
(Charleston Gazette-Mail 4/15) The Contractors Association of West Virginia Scholarship Foundation distributed $17,000 this year to West Virginia college students pursuing an education and career in construction or engineering. Recipients were selected on the basis of their academic performance, extracurricular activities, work experience, financial need and an interest in a construction industry career. Thomas Smith, a civil engineering student from Marshall University, was selected as this year’s top scholarship recipient and awarded $6,000.
(MetroNews 4/15) West Virginia residents are likely to see a lot of construction activity from big pipeline projects over the next months. Atlantic Coast Pipeline, Mountain Valley Pipeline and Mountaineer Xpress projects are all at the beginning stages of construction, with activity likely to ramp up all across West Virginia.
(The Exponent Telegram 4/15) After a particularly harsh and cold winter, the streets of Clarksburg have been left littered with cracks, gaps and potholes. The road repairs will have to be completed before the city’s 2018 milling and paving program can begin this summer, Bellotte said. Although an exact start date has not been set yet for the start of this year’s paving and milling program, the city included more than $600,000 in its 2018-19 budget for the work.
(The Parkersburg News and Sentinel 4/15) There’s no argument that the former Citizens National Bank building at Fourth and Market streets is a distinctive structure and part of downtown Parkersburg’s history. The debate is over whether the building will continue to stand. Parkersburg’s Board of Zoning Appeals will consider the question Wednesday, during a meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in Parkersburg City Council chambers on the second floor of the Municipal Building.
(WVNews 4/16) Legislation passed by Congress is expected to boost the speed and ease with which West Virginia’s abandoned industrial sites can be revamped to start serving their communities again. Secondly, Ford noted that the funding limit for which applicants can seek has been raised from $200,000 to $500,000. This is a huge help seeing as it often takes $250,000 to redevelop one acre of brownfield sites.
(Bluefield Daily Telegraph 4/16) A local state park’s lake has struggled for years with leakage problems, but winter’s melted snow and recent rains have filled it enough for an upcoming fishing event for children this May. “The county commission has committed $10,000 to the restoration of the lake project, and the Division of Natural Resources has also committed $10,000,” Archer said.
(The Intelligencer 4/16) A slip on the side of Ohio Street has several residents of the Bridgeport, Ohio area concerned. The slip began several months ago, leaving a large depression on the side of the road that has been surrounded by orange construction barrels. Large cracks are visible in the asphalt, showing signs of where it previously had been patched by crews. The slip is located beside a steep hill, and residents are worried about the potential long-term effects of the damage on their properties if it gets any worse.
(Charleston Gazette-Mail 4/16) A Charleston fire station that’s been out of commission for more than two years has nearly been reconstructed. Charleston Fire Department’s Station 3, located at 822 Oakwood Road off Corridor G, should be open and running by July, City Manager Dave Molgaard said. Ray Denuzzo, superintendent of Wolf Creek Contracting Company, said his crew should be done with their portion of the $1.3 million project within two or three weeks. Wolf Creek is building all but the upstairs firefighters’ living quarters in the new station. The city will finish the living quarters in house, Molgaard said.
(The Dominion Post 4/16) Like our own local rite of Spring, there are rocks on Monongahela Boulevard. West-bound traffic remained restricted to one lane just passed the PRT maintenance facility as of Sunday evening. Of all the rock slides to impact Monongahela Boulevard, this one seems minor. Probably the most impressive, to date, occurred Jan. 22, 1983, when a boulder estimated at between 20-25 tons rolled the 200 or so feet down from WVU’s Evansdale Campus.
(West Virginia MetroNews 4/16) The weather was perfect for baseball all weekend, but there won’t be much baseball played at Frank Loria field for the next few weeks. “100 percent of the field was covered,” Clarksburg City Manager Martin Howe said. Only eight games had been played on the field, which is used by the Pony League, Salem International University, and Notre Dame High School, since the switch from grass to turf.
(The Journal 4/17) The Charles Town City Council plans tonight to discuss financing to renovate the city’s Municipal Annex building on South George Street. City officials purchased the 11,500-square-foot former office building last summer for $1.5 million to house its police department and its water and sewer utility authority staff there.
(The Intelligencer 4/17) Bethlehem Mayor Tim Bishop updated council members about ongoing repairs to the 100-yard wide landslide that occurred below Oak Circle Drive near Memorial Park. Bishop said during council’s regular meeting Monday that heavy rainfall during the past 24 hours did not affect repairs to the large slip that occurred Feb. 20. It did cause a minor slip on Westgate Drive that has since been cleaned up by village maintenance crews. He said Wheeling-based Savage Construction is “right where they want to be” with repairs to the Oak Circle slip.