Neighbors Fed Up with Dangerous Stretch of Road in Putnam County

By: Olivia Fecteau Email
By: Olivia Fecteau Email

FRAZIERS BOTTOM, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Rumble strips on the side of the road, coupled with flashing signs and a lower speed limit, have been put in place to prevent crashes on a stretch of U.S. 35 in Putnam County. But continuing problems there have left neighbors frustrated and saying something needs to change.

Between July 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2013, the West Virginia Division of Highways tells WSAZ.com there have been 10 truck rollovers near the Buffalo Bridge on U.S. 35 in Fraziers Bottom. That section of road, which transitions from four lanes to two, has been a problem for years.

“We've had some real bad tragedies here and expect them all the time,” Steve Fellure, who lives near the Buffalo Bridge, said.

Fellure said he sees crashes several times a month. This weekend, when a tractor-trailer rolled over near the bridge, he told WSAZ.com he had just gone out with his granddaughter, 8, and narrowly missed being involved in the crash.

“[My son-in-law] run up there to see if we were under the tractor-trailer because we had just left. That's the kind of stuff we have to deal with,” Fellure said.

Steve Andes, the president of the Putnam County Commission, said much of the trouble comes from out-of-state truck drivers who aren’t familiar with the sharp curves on that part of the road.

“It's just like any accident on the highway, people are usually going too fast for the conditions or just not paying attention,” Andes said. “You can't legislate common sense, unfortunately.”

The Division of Highways says it believes this weekend’s crash was the first truck rollover since the flashing lights and reduced speed limit signs were installed last fall. Brent Walker, a spokesperson for the DOH, tells WSAZ.com that funding problems have stalled the expansion of U.S. 35 to four lanes in this area and that, from a safety standpoint, he believes the DOH has done everything it can.

For Fellure, it’s a frustration that won’t go away.

“We're like blood in a vein,” Fellure said. “It just stops everything.”

The Putnam County Commission’s transportation committee, which meets every other month, will hold a meeting at 9 a.m.Tuesday to discuss this issue.

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