County Route 12 runs through the Owings area just outside of Shinnston, and while it’s not a major road on its own, it serves a couple hundred residents in the area by more directly connecting the Route 19 side of the hill to the Interstate 79 side. Or it did until water issues forced the road’s closure last year.
“The underlying problem that took it down is that the water fro the hill is undermining the road bed, and that the water needs to be diverted so the road bed doesn’t get washed out again,” said area resident Guy David Leveaux.
But little has been done to the road since then. The slip has almost reached across the width of the road in certain places, and Leveaux, who lives on the Route 19 side of the hill, says it’s become a great inconvenience to people on both sides.
“A lot of people cross here to get to the Adamsville Road to get to Saltwell. So, with this closure, it doesn’t just inconvenience the people who live on this hill, it also inconveniences the people who use this as a feeder route to get to Saltwell Road to get to 79,” Leveaux said.
It’s not just a matter of making an easier drive though. The route can also be the most direct connection to emergency services like United Hospital Center and law enforcement and fire departments, and the detour they have to take worries Leveaux and his neighbors.
“As I’ve talked to my neighbors, that’s one of their concerns. To get to the hospital, to UHC, they cross here. To go another way often adds 15 minutes or 15 miles to their trip. Ditto law enforcement, ditto the fire department. So it’s not just an issue of convenience, it’s an issue of public safety,” said Leveaux.