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CSX bridge project in Terra Alta no closer to moving forward

The issue over the CSX bridge on Bridge Street in Terra Alta, which has been closed since 2017, is no closer to a resolution, with CSX still only offering to pay 20% of the cost to fix or replace the bridge.

“We’re the same place we were before the meeting,” Commissioner Dave Price said at Tuesday’s commission meeting. 

He was referring to an August meeting between officials from the county, Terra Alta, CSX and the West Virginia Division of Highways.

Commissioner Samantha Stone said, “We are absolutely nowhere. And we have no correspondence, I’m assuming, on whether they were going to temporarily open that during these negotiations?”

The letter by CSX does not mention anything about reopening the bridge on a temporary basis. County Administrator Kathy Mace said she did ask about it.

The letter, dated Sept. 9 and sent by Troy Creasy, project manager II – public projects for CSX, states the company intends to maintain its position that a 20% contribution by CSX for the project is acceptable. 

In a letter on Aug. 27, Sarah Runyon, assistant director of engineering/operations for the DOH, requested $1 million toward the project.

“It was the understanding of the WVDOH that CSX no longer wanted to own the bridge. In order for the WVDOH to take on all maintenance, inspection and future replacement responsibilities, a contribution higher than 20% is appropriate,” the DOH letter to CSX said. “The $1 million contribution, which is 32% of the estimated replacement construction cost, is a small amount considering the liability that WVDOH is taking on if CSX is relieved of all obligations.”

The project has been discussed for over 20 years and the WVDOH is ready to move the project forward, the letter said. 

Mace suggested having another meeting with the stakeholders but with the decision-makers at the table. Commission President Don Smith said the people at the last meeting were great with providing information but agreed with Mace.

“I think that perhaps we need another level up,” Mace said. “So, because I mean, we can continue to have meetings. But if we don’t have the right parties at the table, we’re spinning our wheels.”

Stone said she was under the understanding this would happen quickly. The meeting was Aug. 10.

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