Brooke panel talks Route 2 widening

WELLSBURG — Widening of state Route 2 near the new Ohio River bridge and the service of a local garbage hauler were among issues addressed by the Brooke County Commission Tuesday.

The commissioners received a letter from the West Virginia Route 2 and Interstate 68 Authority, which are asking the state Department of Transportation to study the feasibility of expanding the highway to four lanes from the southern border of Wellsburg about a mile south to the future bridge’s site and from there south to “developable land along the river in Brooke County.”

Charles Clements, the group’s executive director, said, “With the possible construction of the cracker plant in Belmont County, Ohio, this land could be a valuable industrial site for downstream activity.”

Commission President Tim Ennis said plans to widen an extended stretch of highway there are on hold, possibly because of funding issues.

The commissioners agreed to support the Route 2 Authority’s letter.

Commissioners also heard from David Pritt, general manager of Solid Waste Services of West Virginia, who responded to complaints about eratic service from the garbage hauler.

Wellsburg area resident Kenneth Fletcher said the hauler faithfully picked up his garbage until December. After that he observed many homes with garbage sitting out for extended periods.

“The crows were just having a field day with those who didn’t have cans,” he said.

Ennis said a number of residents have come to the commissioners with complaints.

Pritt said the company has suffered from a lack of experienced drivers, though he added a supervisor involved with operations in Brooke County has been let go.

He said while investigating complaints, he was disappointed to find routes where garbage hadn’t been collected.

“It was disheartening to drive down major roads like Washington Pike and see it,” he said.

Pritt, who works out of Solid Waste Services’ New Martinsville office, said he’s pulled drivers from other areas to ensure regular collection in Brooke County.

But he said the business has suffered from a shortage of drivers, with many taking higher paying jobs in the oil and gas industry, and he has been driving also to help make up for the lack of manpower.

Pritt said the company will be raising its pay to attract new drivers, adding those with experience with standard transmission are much needed.

Ennis thanked Pritt for coming to the meetings and addressing the public’s complaints.

Pritt said he can be reached at (304) 455-3800 and he asked callers to be patient with his staff.

“Try to be easy on the ladies in my office. They’re just people,” he said.

In other business, the commission:

• Announced applications for its annual volunteer awards can be picked up at the county clerk’s office at the courthouse and returned by April 24. Nominations may be made for Brooke County residents who have volunteered for various causes but shouldn’t be made for elected officials or by family members of the person being nominated.

• Resident Anthony “Butch” Rotellini told the commission he’s concerned about large trucks using Pot Rock Road. The winding, hilly road has been reduced to one lane at a sharp bend because of a slip.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)

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