Bridge project nearing start

By Terry Bartley - Civitas Media

The pedestrian bridge connecting Madison and Danville are nearing the construction stages. At this month’s Madison City Council meeting, Ryan Burns of the Department of Transportation said all that is left is for them to receive plans from Summit Engineering.

“Everything is completely ready to go except the plans from Summit Engineering,” Burns said, “We’ve been asking for these plans since January, they said they’d have them in 90 days, on March 17 when the 90 days were up, they still didn’t have plans.”

One things that still isn’t completely clear is whether or not there will be sidewalks connecting the bridge to the existing sidewalks in Madison and Danville. Burns said this project has already went over budget and it would cost exponentially more with new sidewalks.

“There’s a lot of political pressure on the bridge,” Burns said, “Typically our projects don’t exceed $50,000 for transportation enhancement, and this one’s already over $800,000. If sidewalks come in we’re looking at $1.2 million. “

Burns said that the Department of Transportation only receives $3.4 million a year to handle every project throughout West Virginia, which is why this project has become such an issue. His colleague, Wanda Banks is overseeing this project and she agreed that it doesn’t seem likely that sidewalks will be included on this project. She and Burns said that it is common for cities to underestimate the cost of pedestrian bridges.

“I’m being realistic, I have to do a bridge, there wasn’t enough funding requested for sidewalks,” Banks said.

However, the issue becomes more unclear because at the Danville Town Council meeting the follow day, Jerry Elkins from Summit Engineering told the council that there would be sidewalks, at least on their side of the bridge.

The Madison City Council said that the primary reason they bought into the project was because they were under the impression they would be getting sidewalks. Burns encouraged them to apply for funding for the Division of Highways to complete this project.

By Terry Bartley

Civitas Media

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