LOST CREEK, W.Va. – A Lost Creek community member reached out to 12 News about the flooding and snow conditions keeping citizens trapped on Romines Mill Road in Lost Creek.

Romines Mill Road used to be an open road that led straight into Steven’s Run Road and came out in Quiet Dell. A gate now separates the two roads.

The road became private property back in 1997, upon petition by a private property owner to abandon the roadway. William Gaskin, a worker for the West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH), said that after the request, they included a public notice and possibly a public hearing upon request.

Norma Bise, an 85-year-old woman who lives on Romines Mill, mentioned that she, her husband and other community members petitioned against the closing of the road because it was the only way out during flooding or heavy snow.

However, Gaskins rebutted against Bise, saying that a petition was not received on their end, and that if there were an objection throughout the abandonment process, the WVDOH would not have proceeded with the abandonment.

Flooding near the 16 homes on Romines Mill Road (Courtesy: William Kallel)

Community members that live on the road are concerned for the elderly in case of emergency flooding or snowstorms. Norma Bise specifically said, “I don’t know whether they could even land a helicopter. Like in my field, or in that other field up there. That would not do any good cause that’s where the flood is.”

The WVDOH has added that they strive to work with all local first responders in the case of an emergency and would provide any and all assistance possible. 

During bad weather conditions, citizens that live on the road step up and take charge. William Kallel takes his side-by-side out and plows the snow off the roads so that others can still make it to work. After being snowed in for two days in 2016, he decided that he would take initiative to push their way out. He claimed that the Division of Highways does not help clear their road.

After bringing this up to Gaskin to see if he could make comment on why this happens, he said, “Under current WVDOH Policies, this would mean that this road, the 1.00 Mile Tar and Chip section, would fall under a third priority / Plow and Abrasive only road. The unimproved and Primitive section would not receive any treatment due to there being no access to this area. All homes and residents live on the Tar and Chip section, so they would in fact receive the road treatment as time allowed.” He also mentioned that the entire area is listed as a FEMA Flood Zone.

Kallel also said that if they replaced all the culverts and cleaned out the ditches, it may not flood as much.

Norma Bise, along with other members of the community, would like to see the road open within her lifetime, but the WVDOH said that due to the gate now being on private property, it is out of their jurisdiction.