City police chief Brad Rinehart said emergency crews frequently respond to accidents and other incidents in the Jefferson Road area. He said response times are seriously hindered when crews have to wait on a train to finish passing through the railroad crossing.
"That is a really big safety issue," Rinehart said.
City engineer Steve DeBarr pointed out that one of the least expensive of the seven alternatives involved constructing an overpass over the railroad tracks. He said the issue appeared to be a no-brainer.
"It's almost a waste of the government's money to not have that," DeBarr said.
Highway engineer supervisor Richard Warner said officials believed that even with the train tracks still crossing the new road, the traffic would still clear faster than it does today.
However, he noted the project is still in its planning stage, and plans are subject to change.
"When we get into more detail, traffic engineers will do more study," Warner said. "We're a long way from making any sort of decision."
Sedosky said the transportation department is still taking public comments on the project.
He advised city leaders to submit a formal comment with their recommendations to the department. He said engineers will take those comments into consideration when they look at crafting the final design for the road.
"Every one of those comments gets thoroughly read, evaluated and reviewed," Sedosky said. "We can certainly assure you of that."
While the comment period is open to the public, Sedosky said officials have not received very many comments.
He said about 75 to 80 people showed up at last month's public forum, but not many have submitted formal comments.
The Division of Highways has left project information packets and comments sheets at the mayor's office and South Charleston Community Center. Comments can also be submitted online at www.go.wv.gov/dotcomment.
The public comment period closes April 15.
Contact writer Jared Hunt at busin...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836.