MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Following a meeting with top level state officials the project to reconfigure Exit 155 on I-79 is back on track. Mon County commissioners requested the meeting after the project was removed from the Roads to Prosperity project list.
On WAJR’s Talk of the Town, commissioner Tom Bloom said they told top DOH leadership the project was a priority and should either be put back on the Roads to Prosperity list or prioritized in some other way.
“We got a firm official commitment to the Exit 155 project,” Bloom said,” Which is what our number one priority was.”
The meeting put people like Jimmy Wriston, Bryd White and Brian Abraham, Chief of Staff for the governor in the same room to agree on how the project would proceed and define what commissioners can expect.
“There’s a collaboration agreement now which will help expedite the entire process and keep both sides informed of the progress,” Bloom said,” That was something that during those 15 months we did not have.”
Bloom says the Exit 155 project design and specifications will be developed for contractors to prepare bid documents and cost. According to Bloom, the project is valued at $68 million.
“The project delivery method will be through the design, bid, build manner,” Bloom said,” We advocated for the just the design, build but, the state preferred going through the traditional manner, so that problem has been solved.”
During the meeting, commissioners were also able to explain the impact of the proposed Harmony Grove TIF that would fund another interchange to serve Westover and the Morgantown Industrial Park.
“This is the gateway to Monongalia County,” Bloom said,” It effects Granville, Star City, Morgantown, Westover and WVU. So it’s key, this will be the first thing people see when they come into Monongalia County.”
The Morgantown Industrial Park is managed by Black Diamond Realty. According to their website, the site is under consideration by some industries that could bring jobs to the area. New jobs as the closure of the Viatris facility and loss of 1,500 jobs is set for July 31, 2021.
“The governor- out of our meeting is planning to make an announcement should be by the end of the month that will explain the new factory coming in,” Bloom said.” There’s some expansion going on down there at the industrial park and we’re looking at jobs, a lot of jobs.”