Street projects discussed at City Council

Buckhannon City Engineer Jay Hollen said that a new sidewalk and lighting project could begin from the West Virginia Route 20 and West Main Street intersection to Leggett Addition Road, crossing over the railroad tracks. Hollen told Buckhannon City Council that the project cost could be in excess of $400,000.

The City of Buckhannon submitted an application for $300,000 to fund the addition of a five-foot sidewalk and period lighting with Gateway East, a project similar to one done from City Hall to West Virginia Wesleyan College.

The sidewalks and lighting will provide a continuous route between Leggett Addition Road and the intersection.

“For the people that have never had to walk that route from Leggett Addition to Buckhannon, there is no sidewalk,” Hollen said. “They are walking at the edge of the pavement. The speed limit out through there is 40 miles an hour. It’s not the safest of conditions.”

Hollen said there will be a traffic study that could result in a recommendation to reduce the speed limit in the area. In addition to adding the sidewalks and lighting, Hollen said officials are considering the reduction of the speed limit from 40 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour for added safety. He also said drainage concerns on both sides of the road will have to be addressed.

Because of the cost, the project will be divided into two phases, adding sidewalk along the lanes on both the north side and the south side of West Main Street separately. The south portion of the sidewalk will extend from CVS to Erie Insurance.

Hollen also updated the Buckhannon City Council on the progress of the West Virginia Route 20 lane widening project.

Plans to widen Route 20 between McDonald’s and Buckhannon Academy Elementary School will continue. To ease traffic congestion in the area, officials formulated a plan for utilizing the Department of Highway’s 24-foot right-of-way to allow the addition of a center lane between Victoria Street and College Avenue. City Engineer Jay Hollen said the cost of the project is in excess of $700,000.

“They’re going to try to alleviate some of that congestion there,” Hollen said. “Right now, if you’re turning left or right out of McDonald’s, there is no place to go. You’re hoping that somebody will let you out and you don’t get hit.”

Both lanes are currently 14 feet wide. There are sidewalks along each side of the street. A 13-foot storage lane will be added between the two lanes, reducing the size of the lanes by two feet. The sidewalk near McDonald’s will be placed against the retaining wall to allow additional room to incorporate the new lane. Hollen said both sidewalks will be 7.5 feet. Officials are still aiming for a March 28 start date for the construction.

In other business, treasurer Micheal Doss said that a reimbursement request in the amount of $7,371.54 has been submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency following the damages incurred as a result of Superstorm Sandy.

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