The Corporation of Shepherdstown received notification that their application for a Transportation Enhancement Grant to construct a bike path along Route 480 has been approved.
Town Recorder Lori Robertson initially applied for a grant for the project in 2009, but was denied. Believing strongly in the project, she submitted the application for funds again in early 2013 and has been awaiting a response, which came this week.
The path, initially proposed to traverse the west side of Route 480 from Lowe Drive to Morgan's Grove Park, will now move into more detailed planning stages. Robertson said that State Department of Highways officials will determine if the west side of the highway is the most appropriate or if the path could be located on the east side.
Regardless of which side of the roadway the path is constructed on, no personal property needs to be secured. All of the construction and final path will fall on state highway right-of-way property, Robertson said.
The grant awarded is approximately $621,000, Robertson said Wednesday.
Robertson lauded assistance from Matt Mullenax, GISP and Transportation Analyst with the Hagerstown Eastern Panhandle Metropolitan Planning Organization, who she said, has been invaluable in assisting with the grant application thus far. She also commended all others who have had anything to do with the project.
"This will connect Shepherdstown to Morgan's Grove Park and to Colonial Hills Subdivision on Alternate 45," Robertson explained.
In addition to support from the corporation who filed the grant paperwork, the project has been commended by the Jefferson County Commission. All of the property on which the new path construction will take place falls within the county.
The grant requires an 80/20 match. The Commission committed to aiding Shepherdstown reach that match when they voted last year to commit up to $76,000 toward the project. That figure was based on a 70/30 split with the municipality of the match needed to secure the grant. An initial bid estimate sought at the time of application came in at a cost of $538,599.40.
Construction of the path should begin in the fall of 2014, Robertson said. There is a time limit of two years for construction according to the grant details.
State DoH will determine which side of the roadway is most appropriate and cost will determine whether the path is asphalt or a 'crush and run' material, Robertson said. She indicated that officials from the state department have visited the area in the past and have concurred that it is a dangerous piece of roadway for pedestrians to travel.
The path will have a five foot buffer from the shoulder of the highway. The path will then extend eight feet across. The completion of the project will depend on which materials are deemed the most cost effective for the project.
"We are so excited to be approved," Robertson said. The path will address a problem of safety for the community while producing a connection to the park.