Welch leaders asking for community support to secure funding for new bridge

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WELCH, WV (WVNS) — City leaders in Welch are trying to build support for a solution to a problem plaguing the area for years.

One of the main roads through the city of Welch is Lower McDowell Street. A bridge runs over the street, and people in the county say that bridge is prone to flooding when it rains.

“We had a pretty bad flood. we were there after dark, we were trying to take nurses down tracks to get them to the hospitals to work, so I just said look we have to do something, so we just started it,” said Harold McBride, the Mayor of Welch.

Mayor McBride said this is an ongoing issue. However, in the last few years, McBride said the accidents caused by the bridge are more frequent and severe.

“We have had just so many accidents there. We are very, very lucky someone has not lost their life there, and at some point I am scared that someone is going to be in an ambulance right there, trying to get to the hospital and die right there because that thing is blocked,” said McBride.

City leaders got together to create a solution Tuesday, April 6, 2021. They want a new bridge, creating a tunnel underneath.

McBride said they continue to run into roadblocks to secure funding for the project. He said if they want to get the funding, they need the support of the community to get the attention of their representatives.

City leaders said this is not just a Welch issue, but a county issue. And the new bridge is not something they want, but something they need.

“This is really a life or death problem, again it is a need,” said Jim Spence, a Welch City Councilman.

They are asking those in the area to call and write letters to their representatives. City leaders said they have until Apr. 8 at midnight to gain support for funding before the send the proposal to Charleston.

Support for the project can be sent here.

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