WVDOT announces Bluefield Area Transit project

BLUEFIELD, WV (WOAY)- The West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) has announced that Bluefield Area Transit (BAT) will build a bus transfer station in the city of Bluefield utilizing grant funding from the Federal Transit Administration.

“So many people have worked tirelessly on this project,” said Byrd White, Secretary of Transportation.  “WVDOT is proud of this innovative project, which is perfectly aligned with Governor Justice’s vision to make a real difference in the lives of West Virginians.”

Swope Construction, headquartered in Huntington but with an office in Bluefield, won the $2,678,000 bid to build the transfer station, said Bill Robinson, director of the state Division of Public Transit.

BAT serves Mercer and McDowell counties, including the Mercer County community of Bluefield and the McDowell County community of Welch. In 2019, BAT carried nearly 212,000 passengers, including 127,983 elderly and 15,966 passengers with disabilities a total of 799.938 miles. Robinson said a transfer station in Bluefield was necessary to keep riders out of the weather while waiting to transfer to another bus or to shelter Greyhound bus passengers. The facility will also handle natural gas vehicles.

Robinson said the project is also a part of a larger effort to revitalize an underutilized part of town.

In 2016, Bluefield received $2.5 million in grant funding to develop The Commercialization Station, a business incubator designed to nurture manufacturing in the area. Local business and government officials are pushing to bring jobs to Mercer County.

More than 40 new businesses opened in Mercer County in 2019, leading the state in job growth.

“Bluefield had a vision, to grow and to thrive,” Robinson said. “They are in the middle of a revitalization, and we’re proud that our project comes along at just the right time to really help people in this beautiful part of the state.”

In addition to the federal funding, $527,669 in state funding is being utilized, along with $50,750 in local funding. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2021.