Bluefield, WV, hopes to upgrade streets through federal grant, Safe Streets For All

The city is already in preliminary stages of getting approval for the grant.
Published: Sep. 12, 2023 at 6:30 PM EDT
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BLUEFIELD, W.Va. (WVVA) -Some streets in Bluefield, West Virginia, may be getting a major update in the future. Safe Streets & Roads For All (SS4A) is a federal program that hopes to improve roadways for those traveling by car or on foot. Now, Bluefield, West Virginia, is in the preliminary stages of utilizing that grant to improve many of the major roads throughout the city, including West Cumberland Drive, Bland Street, Pulaski Street, and more. The city has already cleared hurdles to be able to apply for grants to give their streets a makeover, from new sidewalks to new lighting, bike lanes, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) access, flood safety, crosswalks, and other safety measures.

The city board was updated Tuesday on the progress of some preliminary work being conducted by the civil engineering firm, E. L. Robinson. The City of Bluefield is working with the firm to create an “Action Plan” to identify potential projects in the community as well as gather data for the grants. Paul Mattox, project manager for the firm, said the plan is now being developed to include community input on where problems are and what is needed to be done. Mattox said a community meeting will be held next month.

“The Safe Streets For All is something the City of Bluefield... I won’t say has been neglected, but there are a lot of opportunities or challenges that we have in and around the city...” says Kerry Stauffer, civil design leader for E. L. Robinson Engineering, “...Not only just to move freely around the city but to enjoy doing that, and a lot of recreation activities will be enhanced by this also.”

Stauffer said it is too early to estimate the cost of the project but it will be many millions of dollars through the federal and state grant programs. The work being done now puts the city in a position to be successful in their grant applications, he said. He adds, they hope to complete the action plan by the end of the year, but the proposed improvements could take up to ten years to complete. However, he says you can help with the process by filling out a “Data Collection Tool” transportation safety survey to help identify specific areas or streets that you believe are a safety concern. You can find the link to that survey on the City of Bluefield’s Facebook page.