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Water project, traffic signals before Wellsburg council

NEW COUNCIL MEMBER — Wellsburg Mayor Sue Simonetti, left, administered the oath of office to Mary Rosso, who was appointed to one of two seats representing the city’s 2nd Ward at Tuesday’s Wellsburg Council meeting. Rosso will serve the unexpired term of Angel Adams, who has resigned. -- Warren Scott

WELLSBURG — Early steps in a major water project, complaints about the city’s traffic lights and the appointment of a new council member were all before Wellsburg Council on Tuesday.

Council unanimously approved a $4.9 million loan from the state Water Development Authority to proceed with engineering for three major water line replacement projects with an estimated overall cost of $5.9 million.

Ryan Ewing, an attorney with Steptoe and Johnson, bond counsel for the project, said the loan and 2.9 percent interest will be repaid with proceeds from bonds sold for the project.

City Manager Steve Maguschak said the goal is to replace aging, 4-inch water lines on state Route 2 and Charles and Main streets between Second and 12th streets with more durable 6-inch lines.

He noted multiple line breaks have occurred in those areas in the last few years.

Maguschak said Thrasher Engineering will determine the course of the project, including whether it will be divided into phases, but he hopes construction can begin later next year.

Aiding with the project is Barb Zimnox, community development specialist, who said she has applied for about $1 million in state grants for it.

Council also approved the mayor’s appointment of Mary Rosso to one of the seats representing the city’s second ward.

A Wellsburg-area native, Rosso has volunteered at St. John Catholic Church, where she is a member, and for the Bernie’s Kids toy drive in the past.

She will serve the remainder of the unexpired term of Angel Adams, who resigned to focus on her duties as pastor of New Day Christian Center.

Rosso said currently her intentions are not to run for the seat when it is placed on ballots in 2021, adding her primary intention is to ensure residents of her ward have an equal voice in the interim.

In other business, council members asked City Police Chief Richard Ferguson about the city’s traffic signals, particularly those at state Route 2 and Sixth Street and Route 2 and Seventh Street, which have been flashing red since this fall’s paving project.

It was noted council had voted to reactivate the one at Sixth Street but that hasn’t occurred.

Ferguson said he was unable to change the signal’s mechanism and has approached the state Division of Highways for help.

Some on council said the red lights at 22nd and 27th streets seem overly long and they have seen vehicles, including large trucks, pass through them before they changed to green.

Ferguson said he’s aware of vehicles turning right at the red light at 16th Street, then u-turning north to avoid the wait.

He said for reasons that aren’t entirely clear, council has control over the signals at Sixth, Seventh and 10th streets but no others along Route 2, which are within the state’s jurisdiction.

The chief said those who violate any red lights will be cited.

In other business:

¯ Fourth Ward Councilman Charlie Harris voiced complaints about several issues in his ward, including dilapidated structures and road conditions and was encouraged to put his concerns in writing to Maguschak.

¯ Second Ward Councilman Paul T. Billiard, who coordinated the lightup at the city’s Central Park, thanked city crews for their assistance with the effort, which was sponsored by the Wellsburg Lions Club, and all those who attended.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)

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