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Traffic: A taste of things to come
November 2, 2007 - Heather Ziegler
Thursday's traffic back-up on Interstate 70, extending from downtown Wheeling to St. Clairsville is just a reminder to folks what can happen when there is something going on in downtown or during the Winter Festival of Lights at Oglebay. On Thursday, the backup was caused by work being done on the holiday displays erected on the light poles. Traffic was reduced to one lane on Main Street and that's all it took to snarl motorists (or is that snarling motorists?) We've been very fortunate up until yesterday not to have heavy traffic backup on I-70 despite the closure of the eastbound Wheeling Tunnel. Even the traffic that does detour through downtown Wheeling has been light since the first few weeks of the closure. Motorists have simply grown accustomed to avoiding the detour into town by using I-470. The tunnel work and its months of delay in finishing have pretty much put the nail in Wheeling's economic coffin. It's almost too much to bear to watch. Did you know that most businesses (restaurants) close on Saturday afternoon because there is not enough traffic to support them? Only when there is an event at WesBanco Arena does the town fill up. It can be pretty lonely working on Saturday in downtown Wheeling. The tunnel needs to be finished NOW. Oglebay's Winter Festival of Lights show opens next week and it's important to the entire community that traffic flow once more through the tunnel. And those jokes about Bob The Builder being on site just aren't funny anymore. In fact, there is nothing funny about the whole mess.
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