Exit 14 plans trouble some

June 26, 1998|By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The state of West Virginia forced Marie Detter out of her home once when it routed Interstate 81 through her family farm.

Now the state may force Detter, 78, out of another home, said her daughter, Dolores Detter, who worries a move at this point would be hard on her ailing mother.

"It's an awful lot to go through," said Detter, 57, who lives with her mother on Route 6 in Berkeley County, in the path of a proposed path for a new Interstate 81 exit near City Hospital in Martinsburg.

She and several neighbors attended the Berkeley County Commission meeting Thursday to protest the commission's endorsement of that route to the W.Va. Division of Highways.


Their complaint was that the commission endorsed the "exit 14" configuration pushed by the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce without talking to any affected homeowners first, said Garland Sencindiver, of Route 1, who spoke for the group.

That's not the way it works, said Commission President James C. Smith.

Smith said he and Commissioner D. Wayne Dunham can relate to residents' situations because both of their homes are in the way of proposed state highway projects and neither has been contacted by the state yet.

"Any route you take is going to interfere with somebody's life, somebody's property," said Smith, who said he stood by the commission's endorsement. "We felt that that option was the best out of the seven."

Commissioner Robert L. Burkhart said he thought the option was the safest and probably involved fewer people than any other.

Sencindiver showed the commissioners a modified route, which he said would eat up more of his 81/2-acre field but would save homes.

The exit configuration is not cast in concrete yet, said Burkhart, who urged Sencindiver to send a copy of his proposal and any comments to state highway officials before the comment period ends Monday.

Outside the meeting, Sencindiver said his plan would tie in with an existing road and sacrifice only one building in the Martin's Landing housing development.

"I'm not in it for gain. I'm just trying to help," he said.

Mildred Garner, 56, of Route 6, said her understanding was that only a small portion of her property would be taken if the state went with the commission-endorsed route.

"I don't feel as sorry for myself as I do for the other people," said Garner, who said she's retired and probably will end up moving.

Harold Wolford, of 2101 Dry Run Road, said the route would hamper his plans to open a small engine repair shop on his property to supplement his retirement.

"I'll be lucky if I have enough room to back out of my garage," said Wolford, 60.

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