Our View: Past time for city to prioritize road projects

Although it was good to see some attention paid to two long-awaited road projects in Winchester, it is past time for the city to prioritize addressing these projects.

In a special meeting Wednesday, the Winchester Board of Commissioners revisited both projects to see where things stood and ways they might move forward.

For many years, a pair of road projects for Seventh Street and Fulton Road have been stuck on the drawing board for a variety of reasons including a lack of state funds, property owners who don’t want to sell their property for a necessary easement or right-of-way and no money to relocate utility lines.

The Seventh Street project was designed as a way to reroute truck traffic from Gate Precast and the Freeman Corporation from residential neighborhoods. The project would build a new road to parallel Interstate 64 and meet at the intersection of Maple Street and Veterans Memorial Parkway. The state awarded funds to design the project in 2008, which was completed, but has remained there since.

Brian Ward, a consulting engineer with Palmer Engineering, estimated construction costs could be about $3 million now, plus utility relocation expenses, but the state has not provided funding for the project past the initial design phase.

Commissioner JoEllen Reed made a suggestion that would at least get the ball rolling on the project. She suggested a resolution from the commission to state Sen. Ralph Alvarado and state Rep. Les Yates to continue lobbying for funding for the project this year and in 2020, when the next budget will be approved.

The Fulton Road project, which would connect Professional Avenue near the Clark County Health Department to Fulton Road near the Quick Shop Trailer Park, has been on the plans longer and would ease traffic on one of the busiest streets in the community.

It’s past time for the state to address these projects and make funding available, particularly in the area of Seventh Street, where the truck traffic is dangerous and causes numerous delays in traffic in the area.

Winchester resident Joyce Morton was right when she told the commission that telling the neighbors in that area of the community to “wait,” is telling they are not important enough for an investment in that area.

We believe that investment is a worthy one, and one the state should address quickly.

The city needs to be aggressive in pushing for this funding, by reaching out to legislators and other contacts at the state level.