POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — The Mason County Commission recently met hearing updates on the Route 35 project, expanding the stretch of roadway from two to four lanes throughout Mason County and into Putnam County.
The commissioners in attendance were President Rick Handley, Sam Nibert, and Tracy Doolittle along with County Administrator John Gerlach.
Cliff Farley, from the West Virginia Department of Highways (WV DOH), and Jennifer Belcher, the project engineer from Bizzack Construction, shared updates on the Route 35 project.
Belcher reported they are currently on pay estimate 39, the cost to date being $191,100,000. The proposed project completion date (not including the paving) has been extended to Dec. 13 of this year, the original date was Oct. 31, 2018. The reasons behind the extension is because of the original design at the Buffalo intersection was planned to be a four-way stop, it has been changed to a four lane conventional diamond shape with single span bridges and they were granted a time extension to finish as much of that as possible. Obtaining certain permits from different entities for portions of the project also set the project back such as with permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WV DEP). Belcher commented a notice to proceed was held up on the paving project portion because of permitting issues, moving from one contractor to another. However, they are in the final stages of getting that squared away.
Further reports include, 16.6 millions yards of dirt out of 16.8 million yards of dirt has been moved; the final grade has been cut from the north end down to County Route 78; they are in the process of finishing up the final grade from there (County Route 78) south to the beginning of the project which is less than a week away from being finished; bridges at County Route 78, County Route 29, and County Route 40 are complete, work is still being done on the bridge on Plantation Road; an access point was completed at County Route 22 and an intersection has been completed at County Route 29 over County Route 17.
The DOH bid out the paving project in February to West Virginia Paving. The projected completion date from West Virginia paving is Oct. 16, 2020. When Kanawha Stone finishes their work, then West Virginia Paving will begin theirs.
In other business, the commissioners discussed setting up a public transportation meeting where different entities could attend and the public could address their issues with the roadways such as the dips on certain roads to help meet a common goal of fixing these issues.
The commissioners discussed possible candidates for appointment to the Mason County Protection Agency including a building consultant, a county health officer or his or her designate, a fire chief from a county fire department, and two members of the community at large one on the upper end of the county and one on the lower end.
The commission approved to hire Jordan Patrick Anderson as an entry level deputy sheriff at the Mason County Sheriff’s Department.
The commission approved to hire Michaela Hogg as a victim advocate for the Prosecuting Attorney Office.
The commission approved to appoint Handley to the Tri-River Transit Board.
The commission approved to cancel the Sept. 26 regular business meeting. The commissioners will meet on Sept. 12 and Sept. 19 at 4 p.m. in the County Commission meeting room.
The commission approved to cancel the Oct. 17 and Oct. 31 regular business meetings. The commissioners will meet on Oct. 3 and Oct. 24 at 4 p.m. in the County Commission meeting room.
A meeting will be held at the Mason County Courthouse on today (Tuesday, July 30) at 6 p.m. regarding the proposed new plant coming to Mason County. The public is encouraged to attend this meeting to find out more information and ask questions. The commissioners will be sending a letter in favor of this proposed project.
The commissioners discussed an ethics based regional meeting to be held in Mason County.
Doolittle reminds everyone the Mason County Fair is coming up, Aug. 5-10, and encourages everyone to come out.
Erin (Perkins) Johnson is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, extension 1992.