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'Embarrassing' Berkeley Springs street becomes a high priority

January 24, 2008|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - The potholes on North Wilkes Street might be patched soon to improve driving conditions on the road between St. George Street and W.Va. 9 West.

Town of Bath Mayor Susan J. Webster said Tuesday that she requested "high priority" pothole repairs on the street from Morgan County Highway Administrator John Coleman.

Webster said she met with Sen. Walt Helmick, D-Pocahontas, last week about the condition of the street, and Helmick called DOH Commissioner Paul Maddox to request assistance for improvement to the street.

She said she told Helmick that the street's condition is an "embarrassment to the town."

The state-maintained road has not received any improvements since 2000, and the road is "hazardous to vehicles," said Councilman Scott Merki, who lives on the street.

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Merki requested at the Jan. 8 Bath Town Council meeting that the council take steps to get something done for Wilkes Street.

At the meeting, Webster said another letter would be written to Bob Amtower, engineer for the West Virginia Department of Highways' (DOH) District 5 office in Burlington, W.Va.

Coleman said Tuesday that the DOH office in Charleston, W.Va., makes the decision on which roads are to be repaired.

The amount of road traffic has a bearing on what roads are repaired, and North Wilkes Street does not have a high volume of traffic, Coleman said.

Coleman said potholes can be repaired without needing a decision from state officials. He said his department will "prioritize it," and all that is needed is a request from Webster to fix the potholes on the street.

He said the potholes can be patched in cold weather. The department uses a winter-mix grade that is used for temporary repairs.

Webster said she did not know that a request was needed.

Amtower said he has received several requests from Webster to improve North Wilkes Street. He said the state has not budgeted improvements for the street.

Amtower said he would "check into" pothole repairs for the street.

Webster said she knew nothing could be done this season, but wanted the DOH to begin an engineering and design study for the street for a future improvement.

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