With the holiday shopping season upon us, the roads outside the Ohio Valley Mall and Plaza in St. Clairsville are as congested as the aisles inside the stores.
Some shoppers have just as many headaches concerning traffic as they do trying to find the perfect gift.
Now ODOT and Belmont County hope to cure some of those traffic headaches with the Mall Road Connector.
“For many, many years there’s been a lot of congestion in the Mall Road Area,” said Lloyd McAdam, the District 11 Deputy Director of ODOT. “This is a project that was recognized a long time ago to get some money for fixing that so we’re in the process of finding a solution to decrease the congestion and accidents along Mall Road.”
The Mall Road Connector will extend a two lane roadway from Mall Road behind the Ohio Valley Mall, over Interstate 70, before connecting to National Road. Reducing congestion would be just one of the end results of the Mall Road Connector according to Dennis Bigler of the Belmont County Transportation Improvement District.
“Greater connectivity, avoiding the traffic signals, avoiding traffic accident hot spots and hopefully reducing the traffic accident rate, that type of thing,” said Bigler.
The Preferred Alternative 15, as the project is being called, was presented to the public Tuesday in St. Clairsville where most were in favor or even excited about the project.
“If this gets in there, it’s going to improve the Valley,” said Lydia Riggenbach in support of the Connector. “It’s going to allow opening up for more property to be developed. It’s going to supply jobs, it’s going to supply so many different things. It’s just going to help out immensely and not only with traffic but everything else.”
Dennis Bigler says they hope to have funding for the right of way and environmental work by the end of the month and are scheduled to start construction in 2017.