THE RETAIL business in Belmont County is experiencing upward movement. A resurgent Ohio Valley Mall and the Ohio Valley Plaza are major players in such activity.
With that said, the Mall Road Interchange project is a vital component to continued growth in that area as it would connect the two sides overtop Interstate 70. A project of that magnitude requires a large amount of funding.
In a concerted effort to make that happen, the Transportation Improvement District and representatives from Belmont County, St.?Clairsville and various businesses will make a pitch to the state. The local coalition will take its case to Ohio Department of Transportation.
That meeting is scheduled to take place in Canton on Sept. 10. The local delegation will be seeking to secure TRAC program funding. That money would be used for construction of the connector portion of the project as sufficient funding has been generated to complete the work on both sides of the interstate.
Connector funding is obviously vital to expediting the work. If TRAC funding is provided, the project could quickly commence.
The project will connect National Road with Mall Road behind the Ohio Valley Plaza and include a bridge over Interstate 70, constructed by ODOT.
Belmont County officials are asking ODOT for $900,000 this year, and $10 million for 2015-2016. County commissioners have anted up $1.9 million for their section while the Cafaro Company is building a road behind the mall for development. The county is in the process of acquiring land and negotiating price for property for the project.
Local officials have worked efficiently and passionately to secure funding for the project.
We hope that ODOT officials understand the need for the connector and deliver the necessary funding to get the project up and running.