Businesses along Main Street can now breathe a sigh of relief. At roughly 5 p.m., officials with CSX wrapped up work on a project to replace the railroad crossing near the Benedum Civic Center.
The project forced the closure of Main Street from the U.S. Route 50 intersection of Virginia Avenue to the intersection with Philadelphia Avenue. Travel was limited to local traffic and deliveries in the areas between those sections of roadway.
Work began wrapping up this afternoon as the asphalt was laid around the section of the railroad crossing that had been removed. Contractors from CSX, as well as workers with Evans Construction Company of Mineral Wells, were involved in the project. Businesses on Main Street were pleased to see it come to an end.
“I’m glad it’s over, but most of us know that progress is a little bit painful,” said Mario Blount, a partner and pharmacist at Bridgeport’s Best Care Pharmacy that’s located on Main Street.
Blount, who also serves as the City of Bridgeport’s recorder, said a lot of those he dealt with in his elected official role were curious as to the city’s ability to delay the project, or even move it to evening hours only.
“We are unable to make those decisions regarding the roadway because we don’t control it,” said Blount. “That is State Route 50 and it’s owned and governed by the State of West Virginia. Because of that, we have to live with the decisions that are made and try to make the best of, in this case, a bad situation.”
Blount was pleased with the effort of the city’s staff for what they were able to do with the project. He praised Police Chief John Walker and his staff for sending out Nixle alerts (a service residents sign up to that notifies them by text or email of various situations that are deemed either as emergencies or as critical. Blount also praised the city’s public works department for shutting down Orchard Street.
City officials released the information to the public as soon as it was received last week. During Monday’s City Council meeting, it was learned that the West Virginia Division of Highways also received the information late and submitted it to the city as soon as they found out from CSX.
Along with businesses being impacted, traffic being rerouted led to many frustrated motorists. Sections of Philadelphia Avenue, primarily between Center Street and Virginia Avenue, were often backed up with motorists utilizing the detours. Most truck traffic heading in from U.S. Route 50 West was detoured onto State Route 279.
Editor's Note: Cover photo shows workers laying asphalt early this afternoon as the project on Main Street wrapped up. Inside photo shows CSX workers taking a break from the scorching heat in a shaded area as the project neared a close.