Ohio Valley Mall Road Project Breaks Ground in St. Clairsville
Mar 31, 2017
ROBERT A. DEFRANK For The Intelligencer
A long-awaited groundbreaking took place Thursday at the Commons Mall Crossing, on a project that’s involved years of planning and cooperation between public institutions and private interests.
The project consists of a new 1.67-mile connector road west of Mall Road from the intersection of Mall Road and Banfield Road, reconstructing 0.59 miles of the existing Mall Ring Road and the construction of a new bridge over Interstate 70 to connect with Phase I of the Commons Mall Crossing Road built by the Belmont County Transportation Improvement District in 2015, which connects to U.S. 40.
The road will be three lanes, with the middle lane a two-way left turn lane.
Ohio Department of Transportation District 11 Deputy Director Lloyd MacAdam pointed out that the road would relieve congestion at intersections for an increase in safety. He also noted the opportunities for economic development the project will create.
Belmont County Commissioner Mark Thomas spoke about the progress in making the project a reality after it was first proposed of 12 years ago.
“To be here today is great for all of Belmont County,” Thomas said, adding that the project would benefit all in Belmont County, well beyond Richland Township and St. Clairsville. He credited former Belmont County Commissioner Matt Coffland and former St. Clairsville service director and current TID board member Dennis Bigler for their efforts in spearheading the project.
Bigler said considerable work has gone into this fairly short roadway, saying the amount of public and private funding in the project was close to even.
“Public infrastructure guides and influences development. This is a high-value road, it warrants high-value development,” Bigler said.
Joe Bell, communications director of the Cafaro Company, spoke about the future of retail in the area, noting that while many sites are closing their doors, the nature of retail has always involved a rise and fall, with new retailers filling the empty spaces.
“The situation is not as dire as people believe,” he said. “Every year, scores and scores of new retailers arise in America.”
Bell added that the mall and the businesses it houses will continue to evolve, offering new and desired services and products for today. He said the road project will prove valuable in this growth.
“This project was a collaboration with a capital C,” added St. Clairsville Mayor Terry Pugh. “I just want to express the city of St. Clairsville’s appreciation for all the hard work, the planning, the financial commitments made and now, finally, the construction of this major project.”