BUCKHANNON – Have you wondered why nearly every major corner of Main Street – and some beyond – are closed for construction?
Although navigating downtown may be a temporary headache, the long-term results will be worth it, especially for people who have disabilities or are elderly.
The West Virginia Department of Highways is overseeing a project to make Main Street’s walkways and other downtown sidewalks accessible and up to code with the Americans with Disabilities Act, DOH District 7 design engineer Doug Gould said Monday.
Gould said the project stretches from Hardee’s on Route 20 out to Walmart.
“The ramps are going from West Virginia 20 where the sidewalks start at Hardees through town on West Virginia 20 and out to Walmart,” he said. “We’re also going out to County Route 151, which is basically Main Street and the Old Elkins Road for a little piece.”
Gould said sidewalks aren’t getting a complete makeover, noting the work is limited to the end of the walkways.
“Keep in mind, we’re just doing the curb ramp at the end of the sidewalks,” he said. “This is just the ramps themselves to allow the pedestrians to enter and exit the sidewalk.”
In total, there will be approximately 86 ramps, he noted.
The project should be done before the start of summer.
Wolf Creek Contracting LLC is the contractor the DOH awarded the bid to, Gould said, and the company, in turn, hired a consultant who did the design work for the ramps.
“I think it’s a good thing to get these curb ramps updated,” Gould said. “It’s a good thing to get them in to provide access to wheelchair-bound individuals because they need access just the same as any other individual and even limited mobility individuals because sometimes it’s tough to step up on a 4-inch curb.”
At Buckhannon City Council’s April 18 meeting, mayor David McCauley said he knows the construction is an inconvenience, but it will be worth it in the end.
“We will be so much more friendly to senior citizens and people with disabilities once this is over. We just need to keep it together for a few more weeks,” he said.
Finance and administrative director Amberle Jenkins said she appreciates the project because she has family members who will benefit from it.
“While the construction is an inconvenience for a short time, I’m happy about what the ultimate outcome will be,” Jenkins said.