Westover mayor wants support for I-79 exit near industrial park

WESTOVER — Mayor David Johnson encouraged residents of Westover and council members to attend an upcoming Morgantown Monongalia Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) meeting to show support for a possible new exit coming out of the Morgantown Industrial Park.

The meeting will be from 4-7 p.m. Thursday.

“This Thursday, we have an MPO meeting at the council chambers,” he said. “What they are going to discuss is the possibility of another way in and out of this industrial park out here.

“The first, initial idea was to go on past, out to where the overpass goes over the interstate and make that a full-fledged exit (for I-79).”

Johnson said with studies on various possibilities, alternative routes and ways of doing things are necessary in case of problems arising, but the exit would be a good thing for Westover and its residents.

“The significance of this is that we would be able to get about 90 percent of this big truck traffic out of Westover because about 90 percent of it will be able to get off and on at that exit, and we’d never see them on Dupont Road or on our streets,” Johnson said. You’d still have some local traffic, but you wouldn’t have the traffic like the big garbage trucks, especially the sand trucks from the oil and gas industry. They could all use that exit, and they’d be right on the interstate.”

Johnson said the exit would also benefit those who live near the industrial park.

“That coupled with the fact that everyone who lives out that way will not have to come all the way down by the school, all the way out Dupont Road, all the way down to the interstate,” he said. “They can get on the interstate right there and switch on and off. It will be very successful.”

Johnson said funding would be the main issue to work through.

After the meeting, Johnson explained why attending the meeting is important.

“The meeting on Thursday is very important,” he said, “and I’d like to reach out to a lot of people that live on River Road and in that area, and everybody in Westover because we are being impacted by the trucks here in Westover.

“I think the important thing is to have a good showing and have people here to voice their opinions to the MPO, and the people at the MPO will listen. They’re open-minded. Several of us think this interchange is the best option we have to look at.”

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