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Justice: ‘Ball rolling’ on Downtown Wheeling Streetscape project

CHARLESTON — Gov. Jim Justice praised the Downtown Wheeling Streetscape project Tuesday, saying the long-delayed project will help the Friendly City grow.

Speaking during a virtual briefing with reporters Tuesday afternoon at the State Capitol Building in Charleston, Justice said the streetscape project has been a long time coming.

“We’re finally getting the ball rolling on a project that’s really dear to my heart,” Justice said. “It’s taken too long, but there’s been lots and lots and lots of changes and everything as we got into this.”

St. Albans-based Triton Construction Inc. was awarded the low bid for the Downtown Wheeling Streetscape project at $31.9 million — $1.9 million above the estimated $30 million cost for the project that will make the area between 10th and 16th streets compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and resurface Main and Market streets.

The project involves creating curb cuts, widening sidewalks, and installing decorative brickwork. When completed, the project will also involve new streetlights, trees and planters.

Funding for the project includes $1.9 million from the City of Wheeling and $16.3 million the state Department of Transportation was awarded from a federal Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant for the project. Justice said $100,000 will go towards the design and engineering work

“It will beautify that town beyond belief,” Justice said. “I’m sure it will initiate additional growth. It is a project badly needed … great project for the City of Wheeling. More and more and more good things are happening in that area. We absolutely want to take care of that town and make it just that much better.”

Wheeling officials have been pushing for the project since 2015, needing the state’s participation since the streets in question are part of W.Va. 2. Justice first expressed support for the project in 2020. Construction is slated to start this fall with final completion scheduled for 2024.

The Wheeling Streetscape was one of six projects put out to bid at the end of July.

Other projects include road striping in Fayette, Greenbrier, Monroe, Nicholas, Summers, McDowell, Mercer, Raleigh, and Wyoming counties; Interstate 64 paving between the MacCorkle Avenue and Oakwood Road exits in Kanawha County; a high-friction pavement project on Talbott hill in Barbour County; and paving between Cheat Lake and Coopers Rock in Monongalia County.

U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., also announced Tuesday afternoon that a $4.2 million RAISE grant was also awarded for the Morgantown Monongalia MPO to support the Greenbag Road Corridor Planning and Design Project. Manchin and Capito are both members of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“Today’s grant announcement is great news for those who live, work, or travel in Wheeling and Morgantown,” Capito said. “As cities and towns across our state grow, we must continue to invest in key infrastructure projects that accommodate the economic and local needs of these communities.”

“I have worked closely with both the Wheeling and Morgantown communities for years on these projects, and I am so pleased that they are receiving the funding I requested to enhance our communities, encourage economic development, and create safer roads and paths for our fellow West Virginians to utilize,” Manchin said.

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