by Kate Shunney
Once work began on the southern end of a 3.4-mile section of a new four-lane U.S. 522 bypass around Berkeley Springs, many people were surprised to find out that the northern end of the bypass was not included in the scope of work for contractors.
Many wondered how it would work for four lanes of bypass traffic to be dumped onto the two-lane Martinsburg Road just east of downtown.
On Wednesday, West Virginia highway officials offered an answer to those questions.
According to the West Virginia Department of Transportation, a construction contract was awarded on December 21, 2022 to A.L.L. Construction Group of Mt. Storm, W.Va. to build the remaining two mile “connector road” to take bypass traffic all the way to the existing U.S. 522 north of Berkeley Springs.
A.L.L. Construction submitted a winning bid of $34,955,943 to design and build the Northern Connector, as the project is called.
A.L.L. beat out Kokosing Construction Company’s bid of $39,173,832 and a bid from Triton Construction in the amount of $41,446,000.
The rest of the way
That second bypass project will close the northern half of a 5-mile semi-circle around downtown Berkeley Springs. The northern section of the bypass will end .20 miles south of Sandmine Road, state documents say.
According to a 122-page letting document from the West Virginia Division of Highways, the contract is for a roadway design build – meaning the same contractor will design and then build the roadway. That is expected to save time in completing the project, state officials have said.
The state proposal document says construction will begin as soon as the contract receives a “notice to proceed.” The northern connector will be completed by July 28, 2025, the proposal says.
Work will include a four-lane connector road from the first bypass section to U.S. 522 between the sandmine and the sewer plant. It includes a bridge over Warm Springs Run and the future North Berkeley Rail Trail.
Two access roads – Sherill Lane and Healthy Way, where War Memorial Hospital stands – will be constructed to tie into the connector roads.
Contractors will build right and left turn lanes onto the existing U.S. 522 to tie into the connector road.
A.L.L. Construction will be responsible for getting right of way agreements, designing and building the roadway, environmental permitting, utility coordination and construction services.
State highway officials say a Final Environmental Impact Statement for the northern connector has already been approved. That approval will remain intact as long as contractors don’t deviate too widely from the preliminary plans for the connector road.
The Division of Highways will provide a Right of Way project manager to be a point of contact for land issues.