DOH: Brockway project will address truck route’s underlying issues

MORGANTOWN — Sure, Morgantown residents know Brockway Avenue as a consistently miserable driving experience and overall detriment as an entrance to the city’s downtown. 

But have they ever bothered to ask what’s going on below the surface? 

The West Virginia Division of Highways intends to do just that this summer. 

DOH District 4 Manager Mike Daley and Construction Engineer Jason Nelson said a project to rebuild approximately 1.5 miles of the road will begin in late June or early July. 

Part of that work will address “base failures,” meaning everything below the surface hastening the street’s deterioration has got to go.

“In order to repair base failures, there will be complete removal and replacement of the pavement structure down to approximately 18 inches in depth. If brick or other prior road/trolley structure materials are encountered in that area, it will be removed and replaced with the new pavement structure,” they explained. 

The Brockway Avenue (W.Va. 7) work will run from Hartman Run Road, in Sabraton, to the Walnut Street Bridge and should be completed by mid-August, according to the DOH. 

The project will also include milling, paving, drainage cleaning and replacement, guardrails and pavement markings. 

But Brockway Avenue’s problems aren’t all internal. It’s under a lot of pressure. 

Anyone who drives in Morgantown knows there is a constant parade of heavy trucks traveling W.Va. 7 — through Sabraton, around the perpetually wavy “Hogback Turn,” up Brockway Avenue and through downtown Morgantown to University Avenue. 

Local policy makers have insisted an improved Green Bag Road could be the solution, providing an alternative route that would allow trucks to bypass the city center. 

Now, after years in project purgatory, the DOH says it’s ready to move on that project in the coming months. 

It will impact 1.65 miles of Green Bag Road between Napa Auto Parts and Aarons Creek Road and will include a widening of Green Bag Road as well as roundabouts at the intersections of Green Bag Road and Mississippi Street and Green Bag Road and Kingwood Pike/Dorsey Avenue. It will also add various pedestrian and stormwater upgrades to the area. 

“The design for the project is expected to be completed by early spring 2024 and dirt could begin to move by late winter 2024 or spring 2025,” DOH Highway Engineer Associate Chad Lowther told The Dominion Post in March. “Traffic will be handled with a combination of flaggers, temporary signals and temporary road closures. The projected detour will be two weeks long using Kingwood Pike, Summer School Road and W.Va. 7.” 

The project is estimated at $19 million — including $16 million in intersection construction in fiscal year 2025, which begins July 1. 

Plans are also currently in the works for Green Bag Phase II, which will essentially address the rest of the road — from Mississippi to Don Knotts Boulevard (including the intersection) on one end, and from Lucky Lane to Deckers Creek Boulevard on the other. 

Phase II is listed at just over $12.4 million.