POINT PLEASANT — This week workers installed a turn signal at the base of the Bartow Jones Bridge allowing motorists entering Point Pleasant on W.Va. 62 to turn left on to Third St.
The West Virginia Division of Highways contacted the City of Point Pleasant about its intention to install the signal back in August. It was supposed to go in back in September but due to a problem with the signal cabinet which wouldn’t support left turn “phasing,” that installation was delayed until this week.
From an economic development standpoint, this is significant because when the former Panchos restaurant property sold to businessman and former State. Sen. Oshel Craigo, he asked for the City of Point Pleasant’s support in approaching WVDOH with the prospect of placing a turn signal and turning lane in that area. At the time, he said he believed it to be crucial to any development of the property which would allow easier access to it. Without the turn signal, most of those entering Point Pleasant from the Bartow Jones Bridge who wanted to access the property had to travel one street up to Fourth Street and then down Main Street.
The City of Point Pleasant issued a building permit for the property and work had been going on at the site. Recently, the “for sale” signs were also removed though it remains unclear what the future may hold for the building.
Though the general consensus in the community seems to be positive when welcoming a potential new business at the site, there is also concern about installing the turn signal without a turning lane and possible traffic congestion in the area.
At this month’s meeting of Point Pleasant City Council, Councilman Rick Simpkins expressed concerns about traffic, which is already congested in that area, possibly getting worse without an accompanying turning lane. Other council members seemed to be in agreement with Simpkins’ position though W.Va. 62 is a state highway and out of the city’s jurisdiction.
WVDOH does appear to have a turning lane in the area’s future, though there is no time frame on that project. In an email sent to Mayor Brian Billings back in August from a WVDOH official, the email states the agency will be working on a construction project to “more fully address the traffic in this area.” The email stated this will “take some time as this will require that a turning lane be constructed at this location.”
On Friday, WVDOH Spokesperson Carrie Bly stated at this time, there is no money allocated for this project.
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