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More money put into Chesapeake Bypass

CHESAPEAKE — Additional funding has been put into the long-awaited Chesapeake Bypass project.

On Thursday, the state’s Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC) put $5 million into the budget of the Ohio Department of Transportation.

“That is to go ahead and buy any available land,” said Dr. Bill Dingus, executive director of the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation and member of the TRAC.

“Anyone in that corridor who wants to go ahead and sell, they have a guarantee of money.”

For decades county economic development leaders have pushed to get the bypass that would connect Huntington West Virginia, to Ironton via the Proctorville Bypass, thus creating the Tri-State Connector.

A year ago, county officials sought about $79 million to acquire right of way and construct the highway. That was not, however, a part of Gov. John Kasich’s $3 billion transportation plan that did include the $440 million Portsmouth Bypass.

“(Land acquisition) is a two-state process,” Dingus said.” The next allocation would be to take the rest of the land. The total right of way is close to double that ($5 million). It’s somewhere between $11 and $16 million for the real cost of the right of way. Those people who live in that corridor, now there is money available at least to buy those properties who want to sell.”