OAK HILL, WV (WOAY) – When the new schools opened at the Oak Hill complex, to cut back on the traffic, Halstead Avenue off was turned into the new bus route.
The big problem: Halstead Avenue is currently one lane and is getting torn up by bus, car and pedestrian traffic.
“We live in a neighborhood that was already there before the school was built,” Joseph Arrington, one resident, said. “We understand the serious issues that the school has with traffic and the need for the road, but they’ve done everything to shut out every single homeowner on that street from having anything to do with their own houses, their own property values, their own property interests and really just made it almost feel like it’s an attempt to being evicted from our homes.”
For Arrington, it’s about respect. He says they’re not fighting the Halstead Avenue project itself but fighting the way it’s been handled.
Originally, the road was a dead end in a quiet neighborhood but was extended to reach the new schools.
Now they’re doubling the width, which according to the Division of Highways will take out one side of street parking.
The road now is not suitable for the nearly 60 bus trips that pass through there daily, but many wonder why this wasn’t done before school started.
James Moore who works as the maintenance engineer for DOH’s District 9 says these projects take time but that they plan to start taking bids once they get approval from Charleston and then hopefully construction on the residence part will begin in the summer.
“It does take time to do all those things, so as far as what we anticipated locally, you know, maybe the public would’ve liked to have seen it happen quicker, but to do all the necessary steps to build a project like this, we’re right on track with what we thought we could do,” Moore said.
One of those steps involved the gas line which is why Arrington has been without gas and heat for months hoping to pull together the $3,000 he needs to get it back on.
He did just recently receive his “Right-of-Way” certificate from the DOH, which according to the DOH, is the agreement from them to buy any property or construction easements.
But Arrington says there has only been one meeting since the beginning of this, and he feels as though they’re being run over.
“And that’s how we’ve been treated the whole way through the project is ‘We’re coming through get out of our way.'”
Another issue Arrington had was that there are no talks of sidewalks being out in but the Halstead Road is the evacuation route if anything were to happen at the schools.
According to DOH, this is a project that will have to be done by an outside contractor.