Road Patrol: Residents complain about what they say are empty promises and awful road conditions

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – South Pierpont Rd. is a mess, that is according to residents, who said that it could use a lot of work to meet their needs and that of all who use the road.

William Smyth, a resident, said the section of the road between Tyrone Rd. and Pleasant Hill Rd. hasn’t seen a proper repair in years. He has lived on the road for 60 years and said the secondary road is used by roughly 1,000 cars every day, which is far too many.

He said it is a popular route because it serves as a shortcut between Monongalia and Preston counties.

As a result, Smyth said the road has seriously deteriorated and he has grown frustrated because the more time that goes by without addressing the problem, the worse the road becomes.

“You have enormous potholes that aren’t patched, you have ditches that are full of water so the water runs down the road,” Smyth said. “At the end of my driveway, which is a very steep curve, the main sewer pipe across the road have been plugged up, I know at least 10 years. The water runs down the steep hill, freezes and every time there’s a snow or a freeze there’s cars in the ditch, every place.”

That was the case in December, he said, when four cars got stuck in two ditches right by his driveway as a result of the poor road and sewage conditions and the ice on the ground. He said the cars were partially blocking the already narrow road and stopping his wife from entering their property.

Smyth said the owners had to leave their cars in the ditches overnight because there was nothing that could be done. Eventually, he said, it was through the help of the police and a towing service that the vehicles were finally removed.

Worse than that, he said a few years ago a semi-truck carrying welding gas fell into one of the ditches outside his driveway, hitting an electricity pole. The truck was stuck for a while, Smyth said, but then the driver managed to maneuver out and drive away, without a concern for the damage he had inflicted.

“It is awful and I don’t know what the answer is,” Smyth said. “And I sympathize with the DOH workers because there’s not enough of them to do the job and not enough money to fix the roads. You hear the county talk about it, they’re going to take it over and you hear the state talk about it and to me it’s all lip service.”

County officials have come by to look at some of the problems with the road, noted the quality, promised to do something and then failed to do so he said. The Public Service Commissioner’s office, for example, sent out staff to write citations to trucks that are too heavy for the road but that was years ago and that didn’t stop them.

It has been 10-12 years since the ditches were cleaned or addressed in any manner he said. The last time any repair was done was a few months ago when one pothole was filled with some asphalt, by the looks of it, Smyth said, the Division of Highways probably had some leftover asphalt from a different road and decided to throw them a bone.

He reiterated multiple times that his grievance over the road was not with the workers but instead the county and state.

“It’s like they can find money for anything else but they can’t find money for that,” Smyth said. “I think we all ought to get really angry when we see these roads in the conditions that they are. And it’s day in and day out and nobody does anything to make any difference.”

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