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Public feedback needed on U.S. Bike Route 50

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Would elite cross-country cyclists prefer city roads in Weirton, or the twists, turns and hills offered by a route like McKims Ridge Road? It's a question that the Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Metro Planning Commission wants feedback on from the public to submit to the West Virginia Division of Highways.

At stake is where to place signage for continuation of the U.S. Bike Route 50, which runs coast-to-coast from California to Washington, D.C.

"All that's left is a small link in Weirton, which is about a 3-5 mile piece," said BHJ Executive Director, Mike Paprocki.

To connect Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, the route would cross the Market Street bridge and then utilize one--or a combination--of five routes: Archer Hill, McKims Ridge Road, Route 2, Route 22, or Washington Pike (Rt. 27). Three of the options could provide access to the panhandle trail; the other two would get bikers downtown.

"The advantages to (the Route 2 options are) that when you have these long-distance bicyclists, what they would like to take advantage of is the amenities in the urban areas," Paprocki said,

"So Weirton and Steubenville offer those amenities, such as, 'Where can I find a hardware store? Where can I find something to eat? Where can I lay my head in a soft bed?'"

There are four criteria for bikers to submit feedback: space and distance against vehicle traffic; volume of traffic; speed of traffic; and grade of hills. Click here to submit public comments.

Planning on this bike route is dependent on the Market Street Bridge staying open. An engineer collaborating on the project tells NEWS9 that if it were ever to close, then plans would be built around the eventual opening of the Brilliant-Wellsburg Bridge.

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