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MUB says Popenoe Run project will begin in November

MORGANTOWN — The Morgantown Utility Board intends to put the Upper Popenoe Run sanitary and stormwater project up for bid in August and begin construction in November. 

The new timeline was shared Tuesday during the utility’s board of directors meeting. 

Specifically, the necessary tree clearing ahead of the project will begin sometime after Nov. 15. 

That’s the date when environmental restrictions in place to protect bat habitat will be lifted. The regulation prohibits the removal of tree canopy starting March 31 and ending in mid-November. 

MUB intended to begin clearing marked trees across the roughly four-acre site this winter. 

“We did put out a bid for tree removal. Those bids came in and the low bid came in at $545,000. This amount is cost prohibitive for the project, General Manager Mike McNulty said, explaining the tree clearing will be included as part of the August bid package.  

McNulty went on to say the utility is still working to obtain construction easements from 20 or so property owners. 

“I think of the 20 there are seven we have been in contact with … That should all be cleared up by the time we would go to construction in November,” he said. 

The construction will actually be two separate jobs running simultaneously — the restoration of the upper portion of the Popenoe Run stream and the replacement of an undersized, 60-plus-year-old, clay sewer line that runs parallel to the stream.  

 The work area will stretch from the stadium parking lot side of Willowdale Road and run between Richland Avenue and Randolph Road to Hoffman Avenue, where it bends and runs behind the homes on Amherst Road to Stewart Street, near Shorty Anderson’s Auto Service.  

The project will also include sewer and stormwater improvements in the area of Hoffman Avenue and Bradley Street. 

The cost of the improvements was previously estimated at about $2.6 million. 

Funding will come by way of $1 million in American Rescue Plan Act money from both the city of Morgantown and Monongalia County. MUB will pick up the remainder.