FAIRLEA, W.Va. — A longtime hazard at the State Fair will be addressed with the construction of a new pedestrian tunnel under U.S. Route 219. The state Division of Highways has approved the project and will begin the construction process in the coming months.
“The tunnel will be located in the vicinity of where the bridge currently crosses 219,” said State Fair Executive Director Marlene Pierson-Joliffe. “It will connect the parking area and the main fairground.”
The pedestrian bridge has been in place for many years and serves a lot of the foot traffic going into the fairground. Pierson-Joliffe said however, the steep construction makes it a challenge for those trying to push a stroller or wheelchair across the bridge.
“A lot of folks want to cross on the flat at 219 and with the help of State Police we have navigated that for years,” she said. “Anytime you have pedestrians crossing into traffic or you stop traffic it’s always a challenge.”
The tunnel would eliminate mass numbers of people crossing the highway to get into the fairgrounds and would cut down on the traffic backups through Fairlea and Lewisburg which are always a challenge. Pierson-Joliffe said the tunnel will also better aid use of the fairgrounds during non-fair events which happen on small and large scales almost every weekend during the year. The biggest event is the Greenbrier Classic.
Plans call for the immediate start of preliminary work to relocate utilities. The bulk of construction will start in the spring when the snow is over and the goal is to have the tunnel finished and ready by the 2015 State Fair next August.