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Group unhappy with bypass plan

August 09, 1999|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Two local property owners upset about the planning of a bypass around Shepherdstown want the project stopped until more studies can be completed.

Rebecca Weiler said she did not find out until three weeks ago that her driveway and half her front yard will be taken out to make room for an entrance to the connector road on W.Va. 480.

"We have never been contacted and this has been in the planning since 1996," said Weiler, who lives in the Shady Grove Estates House across from Morgan's Grove Park along W.Va. 480.

Diana Suttenfield, who voiced earlier concerns about the road, thinks it is dangerous to have the road coming out at the entrance of Morgan's Grove Park.

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Children come to the park for soccer and other activities, and there will be an increased chance of them being hit by cars due to the volume of traffic, she said.

"The dangers are just so obvious," said Suttenfield.Weiler and Suttenfield are part of a group of five people who are calling themselves Friends of Shepherdstown. The group is meeting at Weiler's home tonight to discuss the road.

Weiler said she wants the proposed road stopped until more studies can be done to determine its impact on the area.

Del. John Doyle, D-Jefferson, and Mayor Vince Parmesano have been invited.

A flyer circulated by the group claims a Shepherdstown Town Council committee proposed extending the road to Flowing Springs Road, but that is not true, said Parmesano.

There have been repeated statements that the committee supported the idea, but that was never the case, said Parmesano.

"I don't know what to do to convince these people that's not the case," said Parmesano.

Division of Highways officials could not be reached for comment.

The connector road is intended to divert traffic from a busy four-way stop in Shepherdstown. During the peak traffic hour, from 5 to 6 p.m., more than 1,500 cars go through the intersection, according to town officials.

The connector road would divert traffic from the intersection by connecting W.Va. 45 and W.Va. 480 with a 1-mile road. Jefferson Asphalt Products Co. Inc. has already been awarded a $1.7 million bid to build the bypass, according to Parmesano.

Construction could begin within 30 days and will take about eight months to complete, he said.

Doyle, who has voiced concerns about the number of access roads off the connector, believes the road should have been closer to the Shepherdstown Volunteer Fire Department on W.Va. 45.

Instead of having direct access to the road to respond to emergencies, fire department vehicles will still have to enter W.Va. 45, which presents congestion problems, Weiler said.

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