Speeding Ahead

ANOTHER SPEED bump has been cleared in the development of a major Belmont County transportation artery.

Belmont County commissioners Wednesday agreed to commit $1.9 million toward completion of the Interstate 70/Mall Road connector project. Once in use, the connector will relieve much of the traffic congestion in the Mall Road area. It will also spur development in the area.

Commissioners failed to transfer the funding yet, wisely waiting for an agreement with the Belmont County Transportation Improvement District to become final. At that point, TID would assume the role of executors for the project.

The connector promises to propel an already progressing county to another level of business growth. It has taken many years of discussions and negotiations to get to this point, but the final product should justify the wait.

The project calls for the construction of a road near the All Fore One miniature golf course along U.S. 40 that would extend west of the Ohio Valley Plaza behind Sam’s Club and wind behind the Lowe’s Home Improvement store. In conjunction with the road work, a bridge would be constructed over Interstate 70 by the Ohio Department of Transportation to link it with a roadway being constructed behind the Ohio Valley Mall by the Cafaro Co., owners of the mall.

The completed ODOT project would extend the new highway on to Mall Road. The project is expansive in scope and boundless in potential.

Commissioners have already committed $1 million for the work, with $900K still needed. They expect that to be easily generated by oil and gas drilling fees.

Commissioners and TID are expected to finalize the accord March 5.

Once inked, we hope construction commences quickly and with no more roadblocks.