A major $2.1 million project that will provider riders of the Bluefield Area Transit system a modern transfer facility has been advertised for construction bids. Those bids are due back on Oct. 22. Assuming that an acceptable bid is submitted and falls within the funding parameters, city officials would like to break ground on the long-planned Bluefield Avenue Transfer Station project before the year’s end.

The location of the new transfer station is a 2.5-acre tract of land beside Flowers Bakery on Bluefield Avenue. When completed, the facility will afford riders of the transit system a safe, enclosed, handicap-accessible facility to utilize while awaiting bus transfer. They will no longer be exposed to heat, cold, wind, rain or snow while waiting to transfer buses, according to City Manager Dane Rideout. The facility will also include accessible restrooms and other amenities.

The city has been working on the planning for the transfer station project for several years now. During that time, riders of the BAT system made use of an open-air shelter along Princeton Avenue with no amenities to transfer and board buses. That kiosk has since has been closed and a temporary hub is currently in use at the old Gulf station on Bluefield Avenue just across from city hall.

“It will significantly increase the safety, comfort and dignity of BAT riders,” Rideout said of the new facility. “The project is being funded by a grant from the Federal Transit Administration.”

According to Rideout, a number of people helped to get the project off the ground. He says those individuals include Gov. Jim Justice, U.S. Rep. Carol Miller, R-W-Va., Secretary of Transportation Byrd White, Deputy Secretary of Transportation Jimmy Wriston and Director of the Division of Public Transit Bill Robinson, along with his team members John Caldwell and Alanna Keller. Rideout says Chris Robinson and Jeana Straight at Wendel Companies assisted with the design work for the facility and the State Division of Purchasing helped with the bid documents to comply with current COVID-19 restrictions.

The project, once it is finished, will be another significant addition to the city of Bluefield.

While some on social media often confuse the new Bluefield Avenue Transfer Station project with the ill-fated Colonial Intermodal Center from 12 years ago, it is not the same development. That project entailed a number of business ready pads for economic development and came with a significantly larger price tag.

The new project, although smaller in scale, will still meet the region’s same public transportation needs while also getting the transit system passengers out of the elements, particularly during periods of inclement weather such as snow and rain, and inside a warm and secure facility.

It’s an important project. We are excited to hear that it is finally approaching the construction stage.

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