(Charleston, W. Va.) – Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin joins Senator Shelley Moore Capito and Senator Joe Manchin in announcing the City of Charleston has been awarded a FY2024 RAISE grant from the US Department of Transportation, totaling $24,995,250, for the construction phase of the Capital Connector Project.  

“Senator Capito and Senator Manchin have been instrumental in securing a $1.75M RAISE planning grant and a $25M RAISE construction grant for this transformative infrastructure project. Our Senators’ continued commitment to the City of Charleston, combined with support from the WV Department of Transportation, has positioned us to take the Capital Connector project from shovel-ready through construction,” said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. “This project will catalyze over $100M in new economic revitalization projects – including the expansion of downtown housing, investment in a new headquarters for TC Energy that will bring 450 jobs to downtown, and key events such as USA Cycling’s Pro Road National Championships which will take place in our Capital City through 2028.”  

“Completing the Capital Connector Project is critical to the upgrade and redesign of Kanawha Boulevard, and will have a dramatic impact in our downtown area,” said Senator Capito. “That’s one of the many reasons I have been proud to lead the effort in personally advocating for and securing the necessary resources for this project to make sure it is able to move forward successfully. Sound infrastructure is important to the economic development of West Virginia, and investments in our roads and communities – like this one – will raise the quality of life for all who live in and visit our capital city.”

“The Capital Connector Project shows that when you work together through the federal, state and local levels, great things happen,” said Senator Manchin. “I’m proud to have secured this essential funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which will support the construction phase and ultimately, take us from a city with a river to a true river city. I look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have for our communities and the new economic opportunities it will bring to Charleston for decades to come.”

The Capital Connector Project will build on the successful $5.7M transformation of Kanawha Boulevard West into a safer complete street in 2018 – with the project starting at the intersection of Kanawha Boulevard and Tennessee Avenue at Magic Island and proceeding under I-64, across the Kanawha Boulevard Bridge, through downtown Charleston, and culminating at the 35th Street Bridge. The Capital Connector Project also includes the quarter-mile segment of Greenbrier Street from Kanawha Boulevard to Washington Street.  These core roadways see an average of 45,600 vehicle trips daily.

Key components of this complete street project include:

  • Reimagining the Kanawha Boulevard corridor to better facilitate shared use of vehicular, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic by reconfiguring its layout or reducing lanes –
    • Facilitating the establishment of approximately 3.5 miles of 12’-wide minimum separated shared-use path for bicyclists and pedestrians, new crosswalks, improvements at 15 signalized intersections, and traffic calming and pedestrian safety upgrades.
    • Allow for streetscaping, new bus stops, green infrastructure, enhanced stormwater management, new LED lighting for safety and sustainability, and wayfinding signage.
  • Connecting complete streets with a $17.3M WV Department of Transportation investments in the South Side, 35th Street, and Kanawha River bridges to support bicyclists and pedestrians – creating a robust biking and walking loop on both sides of the river as envisioned in the 2016 Charleston Bike & Trail Master Plan.
    • These upgrades will connect to the Charleston Amtrak Station to establish multi-modal connections to key transit hubs—further improving the overall efficiency of the transportation network.
  • Establishing public transit on the entirety of Kanawha Boulevard to better connect the West Side through Downtown and to the East End, and between the Charleston Amtrak Station and Yeager International Airport.
    • A feasibility study is being conducted with RAISE planning grant funds to assess the most feasible method of providing this transit while addressing and correcting any gross weight restrictions that could prohibit bus access.
    • Improvements under consideration in the study and planning phase include solar-power transit stops, bus pull-in lanes, bus priority schemes, and designated zones to ensure the safety and convenience of commuters.

The City of Charleston was awarded a FY2021 RAISE planning grant for the Capital Connector Project.  The City of Charleston engaged GAI Consultants for the design phase which is currently in progress.  To date, as part of the Capital Connector Project planning,

  • GAI has:
    • Hosted the first public meeting and completed the first public survey.
    • Scheduled the next public meeting – one of two future public input opportunities – for August 15 at 5:30P at the Kanawha County Public Library Main Library.
    • Collected traffic data that is being processed to assess lane reductions and reconfigurations.
    • Completed the project survey (base mapping).
  • GAI is:
    • Developing roadway plans based on the traffic study
    • Collecting project case studies.
    • Reviewing public input and developing programming.
    • Developing conceptual designs.