Information requested for Route 2 project

NEW CUMBERLAND — With the passage of the Roads to Prosperity amendment in last month’s special election, Hancock County Commissioners are now seeking help from the West Virginia Department of Transportation’s Division of Highways for information and help on the Route 2 project going through New Cumberland.

Hancock County Commissioners issued a letter during Thursday’s meeting, to be sent to the Department of Transportation Secretary Tom Smith, asking for an update on the environmental study completed on the project, and are also inquiring for a tentative release date for the bond funds from the passed initiative, which allows the state legislature to authorize the sale of $1.6 billion in general obligation bonds for highway improvements.

The project itself would move and widen Route 2 through the city, with the improvements to cost around $11 million.

Commissioner Jeff Davis said, in the letter, that the project would be needed due to the poor condition of the roads and sidewalks.

“As we expressed in previous correspondences and meetings, the current roadway is geometrically deficient for the passage of trucks, and is unsafe for pedestrians which utilize the adjacent sidewalk,” Commissioner Jeff Davis said. “The proposed project would make the roadway safer for our citizens including the traveling public for more efficient freight traffic.”

The commission approved to make the letter a matter of record, and along with Davis, Commissioners Joe Barnabei and Paul Cowey signed the letter, to which copies will be sent to the county’s delegates, the Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission (BHJ), the Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle (BDC) and the governor’s office.

Meanwhile, in his report, Sheriff Ralph Fletcher informed the commission that the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department was awarded the Community Traffic Safety Platinum Award by AAA for “outstanding service, dedication and the significant impact made by the improving the quality of life through traffic programming.”

The award was presented during a meeting in Wheeling held prior to the commission meeting.

According to Fletcher, AAA reviewed information and results from the department’s programs and awarded the sheriff’s office based on its performance.

“So what they’ve done is they look at three to five years of programs that we’ve put together and how it’s been sustained,” Fletcher said. “They make a judgment and we were able to impress somebody enough to get a platinum award.”

Fletcher also stated that the county’s radar programs and other safety-related programs were also taken into consideration for the department’s award.

Fletcher also reported that the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department is currently participating in “No Shave November”, to which the department is participating for a fourth year to raise cancer awareness. Proceeds from the Sheriff’s office’s participation will go towards research at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

According to Fletcher, each officer has to raise a minimum of $100 in order to “buy in” to not shave for a month, to which the goal is for others to also support the cause and donate as well.

Fletcher said that the department has raised $14,000 towards the cancer research over the past three years and hopes to reach this year’s goal of $7,000.

Along with “No Shave November”, Fletcher also announced that he and assistant prosecuting attorney Jack Wood would also be willing to forego some of their hair if each man is able to raise $1,000 on their own.

According to Fletcher, Wood agreed to have his hair cut and donated if he was able to raise the money on his own, and after taking up on Wood’s dare, Fletcher agreed to have the curls of his signature moustache trimmed if he reached the same amount.

“It’s all in good fun, but it’s in good-natured fun,” Fletcher said. “We’re just trying to help out some babies.”

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