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Tunnel to cross under W.Va 480

By Staff | Apr 21, 2011

MARTINSBURG – A pedestrian tunnel underneath W.Va. 480 connecting the east and west Shepherd University campuses has been added to a list of transportation projects scheduled for the fiscal year that begins on July 1.

The addition of the about $400,000 project to the 2010 through 2013 fiscal year Transportation Improvement Program was revealed at the Hagerstown/Eastern Panhandle Metropolitan Planning Organization’s quarterly meeting Wednesday in Martinsburg.

The HEPMPO is a state- and federal-designated regional transportation planning body that includes Berkeley and Jefferson counties and Washington County in Maryland. The MPO coordinates the federally mandated transportation planning process in the Hagerstown-Martinsburg Urbanized Area, which was established after the 1990 census.

The MPO’s members consist of elected and appointed officials from the counties, the cities of Martinsburg and Hagerstown, and West Virginia and Maryland highways officials.

The MPO annually drafts a four-year Transportation Improvement Plan showing all transportation projects within its territory. The TIP is amended when projects are added by the states’ or federal transportation departments.

Robert Pennington, director of the West Virginia Division of Highways program planning and administration division, said via conference call at the meeting that the funding for the project comes from the federal Transportation Enhancement program and was initiated by Shepherd University.

Other than the project being added to the TIP and the funds being allocated in the upcoming fiscal year, no other details were available at the time.

Two new projects were added to the TIP for Berkeley County: replacing the North Tennessee Avenue bridge and the second phase of the Raleigh Street Extension, both in Martinsburg.

The narrow bridge that carries North Tennessee Avenue across the Tuscarora Creek near the north end of War Memorial Park is scheduled to be replaced in fiscal year 2012 at a total cost of about $1 million.

A little more than $10.2 million has been allocated to Phase II of the Raleigh Street Extension in fiscal year 2012. Phase II is between Tavern Road and West Race Street, which will complete the Raleigh Street Extension.

Work has begun on Phase I’s first section, which runs for a little more than a mile southward from Edwin Miller Boulevard at Forbes Drive to the Winchester -Western Railroad tracks. The cost for this part of the project is about $4.5 million, which includes one bridge.

The contract for Section 2 of Phase I recently was awarded, and work on that part of the roadway should begin sometime later this year. This part is between the south end of Section 1 and Tavern Road. The winning bid was for about $6.3 million.

This section includes two bridges and relocating the Tavern Road-Rock Cliff Drive intersection.

– Staff writer John McVey can be reached at 304-263-3381, ext. 128, or jmcvey@journal-news.net