Those in the town of Rainelle can now boast about the completion of the Main Street light project — well, almost.
According to acting Mayor Bill Bell, all of the streetlights have been placed and flowers have been hung on them, but the electrician must continue running electrical wires and the power company must set a service box before these lights finally illuminate Main Street.
“It will take about six more weeks,” Bell stated.
Even though it will be a little while before residents can see the lights turned on, they have learned the art of patience, because this project has been years in the making.
Councilmember Danny Milam said that the project began while Andy Pendleton was still mayor.
“She was the person who got the grant in the first place,” Milam stated.
Funding for the streetlights came from a grant that is part of the West Virginia Department of Highways but the town had to put some money forward to back up the project.
The lights have been placed along Main Street beginning near the creek close to City Hall and continue down to Fifth Street, Milam said.
Although there were many hiccups along the way, Milam said he is glad to finally have the street lights up.
At first, contractors who put the sidewalk in bypassed some loopholes and placed areas of the sidewalk in the wrong locations, Milam explained.
“They did not do everything they were supposed to do, and then left it up to the town,” Milam noted.
They did not put conduit inside the Main Street bridge, so the town had to supply the conduit and find a power source for it, Milam said. Then, they installed a sidewalk in front of a driveway near Second Street that had to be moved. Otherwise, a streetlight would have been located in the middle of the Wallace and Wallace parking lot.
Additionally, the contractor had to redo an intersection between Second and Third Street that caused a drainage problem. This cost the town almost $16,000 to repair, according to Milam.
“One of the biggest problems is that the sidewalks were not wide enough for wheelchair access and the street lights,” Milam continued. “This was poorly designed to start with.”
The benches that the town purchased to be placed along Main Street with the new sidewalks cannot be used as planned due to the lack of wheelchair access, Milam added.
The good news about the benches is that two of them will be placed at Veterans Park on Main Street, Bell stated. This should, hopefully, take place before Memorial Day.
As for what caused all these problems, Milam said “This has been going on for years and there have been several regimes that came and went, so we had to depend on the state engineer who actually caused all these problems.”
In the future, Milam said he hopes to oversee all construction plans or have someone knowledgeable in planning and development to volunteer their time.