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Bridgeport Gets Surprise Six-Figure Upgrade to Road from State, but Lobbying for Major Work to Continue

October 25, 2021
For the last several years, Bridgeport city officials have been lobbying the state, as well as members of the U.S. Congress and Senate, for upgrades to State Route 131 – Benedum Drive.
 
The request has been for work to be done from the roadways start at Main Street by Price Cutter. From there, improvements are being sought to go all the way to the Saltwell ramps on and off of Interstate 79.
 
While that has not happened, the city got a recent surprise from the state. A section of the roadway, which Mayor Andy Lang called the worst area, received a significant upgrade. From Sept. 23 to Sept. 25, six-tenths of a mile was resurfaced. Shortly after that the section was restriped.
 
The area in question stretches from the entrance of the North Central West Virginia Airport all the way to a few hundred yards past the entrance to the Bridgeport Recreation Complex. Lang was pleased with the work.
 
“I think they did a really great job of the dangerous part of it,” said Lang on a section that had huge chunks of asphalt that had been washed away a few years ago during flooding. “We certainly appreciate the work.”
 
The work involved a 1.5" mill and fill paving effort. The work was done by Mountaineer, a subcontractor of Greer of Clarksburg, according to Gregory T. Weber, West Virginia Division of Highways District 4 Resurfacing Coordinator.  Weber said the cost of the project $131,963.11.
 
While the six-figure project was welcomed, Lang said the city will continue to lobby for the section mentioned above to be upgraded. And, as the city has said in the past, they want and believe an upgrade beyond resurfacing is needed.
 
“The roadway is in need of utilities, new ditches, wider lanes and shoulders, drainage and more,” said Lang. “This is a good start, but we’ll continue to seek those improvements for good reason.”
 
The reason is increased traffic brought about not only by thousands using The Bridge Sports Complex that just opened at the Rec Complex, but growth in areas surrounding Route 131. Lang said traffic coming off the interstate and surrounding areas are increasing due to growth at places such as Crystal Ridge, Heritage Farms, and points in and near Maple Lake.
 
“A good portion of that new traffic is using that roadway, particularly when people opt to travel north (on Interstate 79) or are coming from the north,” Lang said.
 
Jason Nelson, District 4 Construction Engineer, said the project was done through a purchase order as part of a season contract with Greer. The contract allows for what he described as “maintenance type paving for small areas.”  
 
Editor's Note: Shown above is the sign marker at the entrance to the Bridgeport Recreation Complex, while Mayor Andy Lang is shown below.