Community pushes for road to finally get repaved

Published: Oct. 7, 2020 at 6:16 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Some drivers in Charleston said they are used to dodging large potholes along MacCorkle Avenue in Kanawha City. Many drivers even said their cars have been damaged by driving on the main road through the community.

“It’s hard to have a nice car and drive on MacCorkle Avenue," Dixieland Carpet Outlet owner Julie Schleider said. “Our roads are a total mess and they have been for quite some time. It seems like we have been totally forgotten about here in Kanawha City.”

Schleider sits in her showroom and watches cars constantly pass over the bumpy road surface. She said the poor road makes the area look abandoned despite being a very important part of the capital city.

“We are a huge part of Charleston with a big tax base both residential and businesswise," Schleider said. "The businesses bring a lot of B&O tax to Charleston and a lot of sales tax to the state. We don’t understand why we have been forgotten and neglected for so long, and put on the back burner.”

Schleider has made countless calls to the Department of Highways and even sent a letter to the governor’s office about the road conditions.

That section of road was supposed to be paved in spring 2020 but has only been patched, Del. Andrew Robinson said. He was promised last year that the road would be completely resurfaced, but is now being told the project will not be completed until 2021 or 2022.

“Well over a year and a half ago, we made a request for them to come over and pave that section of road,” Robinson said. “When we passed the Roads to Prosperity legislation, we thought that was going to get our roads fixed, and get to a point where we weren’t going to be driving over major potholes and things that are going to damage your vehicle.”

“At this point, we have heard responses from DOH, but we aren’t getting that fast action on things that need to get fixed so that the people of Kanawha City aren’t damaging their vehicles as they move from there to home,” Robinson said.

Robinson lives in the area and drives over the MacCorkle Avenue potholes every day commuting to and from work. He said most drivers have learned back roads to avoid the rough surface on the main road.

That is the case for Ben Hark. He has lived in Kanawha City for more than 45 years, and drives on Kanawha Avenue as much as possible to avoid MacCorkle.

“It’s very bumpy,” Hark said. “They have repaired it before, but I guess it seems like running through a gauntlet or a bunch of speed bumps. It is pretty rough.”

Drivers avoiding MacCorkle have even started creating traffic in Hark’s normally quiet neighborhood. He said it is like an obstacle course trying to miss the bad parts of the main road.

Department of Highways crews were out Wednesday morning patching parts of MacCorkle Avenue, putting new asphalt into holes and rolling over it with a steamroller. Crews said they are going to continue working on the damaged road all week, but are not completely replacing the damaged road surface.

Charleston Mayor Amy Goodwin recently held a community meeting in the Kanawha City area where the road conditions were a major topic of discussion. The city is working with the Department of Highways to get the road paved as soon as possible, hopefully in the spring of 2021. The sidewalks in the area will also likely be replaced as part of this project.

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