Address survey to be done next week

December 12, 1997


Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The field survey for the address conversion project in Berkeley County will be completed by next week and a survey of Martinsburg will begin with the new year, according to 911 Director Mary Kackley.

Kackley told the County Commission Thursday that the 911 Advisory Board has begun the process of assigning addresses to the unnamed roads in the county that have three or more homes on them.

"I had no idea there were so many unnamed roads out there," said Martinsburg Fire Chief Phil Martin, a member of the advisory board.


Kackley said she didn't have a figure on the number of unnamed roads or the number of roads with names. "There's never been a master street guide. We have no idea," she said after meeting with the commission.

The commission members expressed concern over the 911 board's plan to change the names of roads with similar-sounding names.

"I don't want the County Commission struggling with Dunham and Duncan," Smith told Kackley.

Kackley said the criteria for naming roads begins first with eliminating duplicates. For example, only one road or street should begin with the word "apple," which is quite common in a county with so many orchards.

The 911 board also wants to eliminate streets and roads with similar-sounding names such as "Bayer like the aspirin and bear like the animal," Kackley said.

Also set for elimination are roads that have first syllables that could stand alone as words. She cited "sunset" and "sunrise" as examples.

Commissioner Robert L. Burkhart said he thought there needed to be some exceptions made. Kackley said the board needs "to know which roads you don't want us to change."

The $200,000 address conversion project will assign street addresses to every home and business in the county, making it easier for police, fire and ambulance crews to get to the scene of an emergency.

Kackley said the assignment addresses should be completed in April, but the new addresses won't be official until the U.S. Postal Service gives its approval. The installation of new computer hardware and software is scheduled to be completed next summer.

While the upgrade will allow 911 dispatchers to pinpoint the address of an emergency, eliminating duplicated and similar-sounding road names will make it easier for emergency personnel to know exactly where to go, even if the computers fail.

Kackley said she's been getting more than 20 calls a day about the address conversion, but none of them have been negative. In the case of the unnamed roads, the residents get first crack at naming the road.

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