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More details on controversial I-70 connector project

Updated: Thursday, November 21 2013, 04:40 PM EST

By: NEWS9 and Kate Davison

A complex and controversial proposed development in Belmont County has raised residents' concerns and has generated heated controversy.

There are a number of factors in the complex plan, but as St. Clairsville City Service Director Dennis Bigler said, "There a lot of questions right now, a lot of doubt right now, that we hope that we can clear up -- and quickly."

The plan has been dubbed the Interstate 70 Connector Project, but it actually starts on a small township road just off Route 40 that sits between a house and the All Fore Fun Golf Course.

"We're simply following the alignment of an existing township road and would be widening that existing township road," Bigler said.

The widening of Township Road 678 is where Bigler said the I-70 Connector Project officially begins. The township road leads to an open field behind the Ohio Valley Plaza, and the development of that area would essentially be the second phase of the project.

Bigler said a temporary cul-de-sac built there could potentially house several businesses among other facilities, but none of that is a definite plan yet.

Under the plan, in 2016 the Ohio Department of Transportation would build the rest of the road using state and federal funds. The future road would connect part of the Ohio Valley Plaza with the Ohio Valley Mall, which is on the other side of I-70. As of now, the future of the public sector portion of the project is at a standstill.

Regardless of what county officials decide about the project near the plaza, work has started on the other side of I-70. There, the Cafero Co. has already started moving dirt for the separate development project may – or may not – be connected using a bypass spanning I-70.

There are a number of concerns that residents have about the development project. One Belmont County resident expressed his concern on the width of the access road, which is now proposed to be significantly wider than what was originally agreed upon.

The resident said he opposes the proposed road expansion, but doesn't oppose the development project itself.

Stay with NEWS9 and WTOV9.com for continuing updates on the project.

More details on controversial I-70 connector project

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