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DOH public meeting set for today for new Mon River bridge


The state Division of Highways will hold a public meeting regarding the proposed bridge over the Monongahela River to the Morgantown Industrial Park today.

DOH Chief Development Engineer Jason Foster said the meeting will be from 5-8 p.m. at Westwood Middle School.

The preliminary location for the bridge, estimated to cost about $80 million, is to connect to U.S. 119/Grafton Road in the vicinity between Scott Avenue and the Glotfelty Tire Center. The access would intersect with Smithtown Road at grade south of the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses chapel, crossing the river and connecting to Morgantown Industrial Park via Rail Street.

“We’ll be able to show the bridge location, bridge type and spans — there will be a lot of detail at this meeting,” Foster said.

Soil borings have been done in the construction zone, and work is underway now to finalize and acquire the needed right-of-way for the project.

“The status of the project is that we are under final design; we’re acquiring right-of-way and doing all the things we need to do to get the project to final construction,” Foster said.

DOH representatives will be at the meeting who can answer a variety of questions, and there will be layouts so people can visualize the new crossing.

“They can expect one-on-one contact with folks that can explain the right-of-way acquisition process,” Foster said. “We’ll be able to explain the environmental feats we’ve documented and explain the details of the project.”

Foster said the project is in the design and development phase, with most activities taking place with designers, but the right-of-way work is ongoing within the proposed project area.

“The right-of-way acquisition is happening on the ground, but there are no ground-disturbing activities at this time other than the preliminary core borings that were done some time ago,” Foster said.

DOH officials estimated last fall that it would take 28 months to complete the bridge and have it opened to traffic. Foster said it’s a very ambitious timeline for completion.

“Construction, I would at least anticipate it would take two seasons; we would like to see it move faster than that, but I think it will take two seasons,” Foster said. “So we would be looking at sometime in 26 or early 27 to get it finished.”