Mileground widening project to get under way this year

MORGANTOWN — A major project to widen the Mileground is expected to start later this year according to Governor Jim Justice’s office.
A press release issued Wednesday explains that the work will widen Mileground Road from three lanes to five lanes, including a center turn lane, between the 705 roundabout and Donna Avenue.
An $8,748,593.01 contract was awarded to Mountaineer Contractors, Inc., of Kingwood, for the work.
Initial efforts will consist of utility relocation and continued acquisition of right-of-way. That work  is scheduled to begin later this year.
State Highway Engineer Aaron Gillispie said there are 35 parcels that still need to be purchased.
Major construction is expected to start in the Spring of 2019.
County Commission President Tom Bloom said the project has been a long time coming and badly needed.
“It’s one thing to say we’re moving forward, it’s another that now it’s been let out and the engineers and the construction can start moving forward,” Bloom said. “I know this is something the community has been looking to for years.”
Morgantown Monongalia Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Director Bill Austin said the Mileground work has been on his radar in some capacity since he took on the role in 2010.
“We originally  had a project in our transportation plan which was a connector that basically would have gone from Falling Run over to Point Marion Road, kind of parallel to the Mileground,” Austin said. “DOH came to us and said that’s not going to work. There are too many properties in the way. So the MPO amended our plan to include the Mileground widening.”
The work is actually the third installment of an overall effort to improve the corridor. The W.Va. 705 roundabout was opened on one end of the Mileground in June of 2013. Improvements to the intersection at the bottom of Easton Hill were completed last year.
During construction, one lane in each direction will be maintained.
The finished product will also include a new, five-foot-wide sidewalk along one side.
“This is one of the major ingresses into the city and out into the county. We’re very excited we’re moving forward,” Bloom said.
The project is part of Justice’s Roads to Prosperity plan and financed with general obligation bonds.

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