Once again, West Virginia’s fickle weather has put construction plans on hold.
Since last year, construction crews have been working on five boat ramps along the Elk River between Clendenin and Charleston. They were supposed to be just about finished by now, but they aren’t.
“The weather slowed down construction, and we had some flood damage that caused us to make change orders [in the contracts],” said Zack Brown, assistant chief of operations for the Division of Natural Resources’ wildlife section. “When we let the contract, I was hopeful we would be completed by the July Fourth holiday. Clearly, that’s not going to happen.”
The holdup, Brown said, stems from the difficulty of getting the change orders through West Virginia’s approval process.
“When you make changes to the design, you have to also change the bonds and change the insurance,” he said. “That can take quite a while.”
Three of the ramps — two near Clendenin and one at Coonskin Park — are tantalizingly close to completion, Brown said.
“The Clendenin South ramp essentially is complete, but we can’t release it until we put up a kiosk and some seating,” he added. “The Clendenin North site is small; it probably would be done by now, but West Virginia American Water is relocating one of their lines, and we can’t finish up until they’re done with that project. We think that, once the water company moves out, we’ll have Clendenin North ready to go within a couple of weeks.”
The Coonskin location is one of those that required a change order. Overall, construction at the site appears to be 60% to 70% complete.
Brown said the land has been cleared for the Blue Creek and Big Chimney ramps, but they, too, required change orders and are not as close to completion.
“Sometimes, it takes a while to dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s,” he added. “As soon as the change orders are approved, we anticipate it will take about 60 days to finish the rest of the construction on those sites.”
He said he is “disappointed we don’t have them open for the holiday.”
“Still, I’m looking forward to when they get completed,” he continued. “When we get there, I believe boaters all along the Elk will think it was worth the wait.”