By SARAH GOODRICH
BUCKHANNON, W.Va. — With the Atlantic Coast Pipeline planned to run through Upshur County, area schools may be affected by the proposed project.
During Tuesday evening’s Upshur County Board of Education meeting, Mike Cozad, community liaison for the ACP, spoke to board members about how the school system would be impacted by the 600-mile pipeline project.
As previously reported by The Inter-Mountain, the proposed pipeline route will include about 23 miles in Upshur County, running south of Buckhannon and Tallmansville; about 30 miles in southwestern Randolph County; and about 25 miles in Pocahontas County near Slatyfork and Dunmore. The pipeline will be 42 inches in diameter running underground.
Cozad recently confirmed the project will begin in the area during April, and will be a two-year process. Regarding Upshur County, a piece of the pipeline will be implemented in 2018, and the second part will be worked on during 2019.
He noted the project will result in an influx of people, with an estimate of 400-500 workers within the county.
“As far as an impact for the school goes, I think your biggest impact is going to be your bus schedule and safety,” said Cozad as he addressed the board.
Discussions with school officials and contractors concerning safety concerns will occur as more people come into the area, he noted.
“We’ll get them all together and come up with a plan and procedures that will minimize the inconvenience for you folks,” Cozad said.
Due to the pipeline project, the area will face road closures and heavy traffic on certain roads.
“We want to try to coordinate that with when the school buses are going to be out there and those kinds of things, so that we can keep your kids safe and have as little impact as possible on the day-to-day routine that you guys keep going with these kids,” he explained.
Also at the meeting, Board members approved the early notification of a retirement incentive, which approves a $500 additional bonus for professional employees who give early notice of retirement by March 1, 2018, and complete the 2017-18 school year.
The next Board of Education meeting will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 12 at Union Elementary.
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