RALEIGH COUNTY, WV (WVNS) — 6/25/2021 8 p.m. UPDATE: Engineers with the West Virginia Department of Transportation responded for comment on the U.S. 19 widening project.
According to District 10 engineer, Joe Pack, the Beckley Z-Way project will be completed in two phases.
The first phase is projected to start in the spring of 2022, with the second phase starting that summer.
Pack explained the project’s purpose is to alleviate traffic congestion currently experienced by drivers on U-S 19.
RALEIGH COUNTY, WV (WVNS) — 6/24/2021 6:50 p.m. ORIGINAL STORY: Multiple road projects in Raleigh County are forcing some people and businesses to find a new home.
Former owner of Frenchies Beauty Salon Barbara French, told 59News she never thought they would see the day when the roads on Route 19 would be widened.
“They said it was going to happen they didn’t know exactly when,” French said.
The West Virginia Department of Transportation is moving forward on two different projects along Route 19. One of these projects focuses on adding a middle turning lane to the portion of Route 19 in Beaver, as well as widening the existing lanes. As part of the project, multiple residents and businesses in the area are being bought out and forced to relocate. While the Department of Transportation is offering money to those they are moving, some do not think the money is worth the trouble.
“I don’t know if it is going to help that much. I mean there are a lot of accidents this way any and a lot of people in Beckley don’t realize there is this much traffic here,” said French.
French owned and operated Frenchies until it was bought by the state. While she had plans to retire soon, she feels like she did not get to do so on her own terms. French said she is upset for the other business owners in the same position.
“I know there have to be road improvements to make things better, but you know, it is just sad to see some businesses have to close and I was sad about mine,” said French.
French said she also feels bad for the people bein forced out of their homes. One woman is leaving her home of 56 years to try and find somewhere else to live.
“Well it has really been a headache because at 85, I think someone should be plumping up the throne and sitting me there and putting a crown on my head and saying yes ma’am what can I do for you,” said Bertha Pack, a lifelong native of Raleigh County.
Pack said while she will miss the memories her house gave her, life is too short to dwell on the things you can’t control.
“Life throws you a lot of curveballs but you can take that curveball and hit it out of the park and get a home run,” said Pack.