KINGWOOD — Preston County Commissioners and Department of Transportation District Engineer Donald L. Williams met with local businessman Robbie Peddicord on Monday to discuss an entrance into his land.
Peddicord’s land is located across from the Kingwood Walmart. He plans to build a 30-room hotel and restaurant with a bar. Peddicord said it was a $2.5 million investment.
“We were supposed to come through the Walmart stop light but were told we couldn’t do that,” Peddicord said. “I have a right-of-way, but guard rails were put up; then someone put barb wire fences up. I had to hire an attorney to show I have a right-of-way.”
Peddicord said there was there are a number of other businesses located along W.Va. 7 between Walmart and Kingwood. He said they all enter directly onto W.Va. 7 without a light.
When he asked Williams about the possibility of lowering the speed limit to 35 miles per hour, he was told it would cause a safety problem. Peddicord said he did not believe traffic approaching the stop light was doing so at more than 50 miles per hour.
“I’m not against any permit that will be safe. We can’t lower the speed limit; it’s about safety,” Williams said.
He said the Department of Highways had a safety engineer do a speed study that indicated traffic was going 52 miles per hour as it approached the stop light. “If we lower the speed limit to 35 and traffic is going to go 52, you’re going to kill people,” he said.
Peddicord’s attorney, Phillip A. Reale asked for the traffic study data. “There is a problem with this entrance, but you were willing to let Walmart bend the rules,” he said.
Phillips said Senator Dave Sypolt requested the entire road be studied. “When Williams said he didn’t know about the request, Phillips said he would send him a copy.”
“We were in the wrong. When the engineer did the study, he used 45 miles an hour instead of 55 miles per hour,” Williams said. “A right turn in here would be safer for everyone.”
“Isn’t it in the state’s best interest to put this light in. You made a mistake, why don’t you make it right?” Preston County Commission President Craig Jennings asked.
Williams said Sheets and Walmart pay for their lights. The state does not pay for them “It’s been here three or four years and it is a mistake. We used the wrong speed limit,” he said.
A tentative meeting between Peddicord, the county commission and Williams has been set for May 9. The time for the meeting has yet to be set.