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Green Bag Road design gets $4.2M in discretionary grant dollars

MORGANTOWN — The concept of Green Bag Road as a bypass routing heavy trucks around the city of Morgantown got a shot in the arm from the Feds this week in the form of a $4.2 million RAISE Grant to the Morgantown Monongalia Metropolitan Planning Organization.  

MPO Executive Director Bill Austin explained the money will be used to design improvements for all of Green Bag Road outside the 1.65-mile section that runs from Luckey Lane to just beyond Mississippi Street.

That central portion is the focus of a somewhat-contentious $19-million project that will, among other things, construct a roundabout at the intersection of Green Bag Road and Kingwood Pike. That work has already been funded and right-of-way acquisition is set to begin.

Austin said the grant dollars will finance a redesign of Green Bag Road from the traffic signal near Giant Eagle down to Don Knotts Boulevard (US 119). Improvements to the Don Knotts intersection would also be part of the design work.

On the other end, a redesign will consider improvements to Green Bag Road between Deckers Creek Boulevard and Luckey Lane.

That portion of the design will also study the feasibility of a parallel, off-road bike/walking trail that would run from the Deckers Creek Trail to Mountainview Elementary School.

“This will make getting funding to actually implement the project much easier,” Austin said. “It’ll be as close as you can get to shovel-ready, with the exception, of course, of the need to acquire right-of-way.”

The funds were part of $20.45 million in RAISE (Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity) dollars recently announced by U.S. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito and Joe Manchin, both members of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The remainder of the funds, just over $16.25 million, went to the West Virginia Department of Transportation to support the Wheeling Streetscape Project.

 “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,” Capito said in a joint press release with Manchin’s office.

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