Community, Latest News, Preston County

Flooding returns

MASONTOWN — Burke Road in Masontown continues to be an issue for the residents and  businesses  located on it. The road is a shortcut  from W.Va. 7 to the Kingwood Pike. Following the recent rainstorms, the road was once again flooded and potholes are coming back.

 Despite the flooding, residents of Burke Road will have no relief until later this fall, according to Jennifer J. Dooley, West Virginia Department of Transportation public relations director.

In an email, Dooley said she spoke with Mike Cronin, District 4 engineer, and he said the road was reclaimed in 2020.

“The plan for this one is to keep it as a gravel road,” Dooley said. “It was shaped this past spring and will be shaped and rolled again later this fall.”

Residents and businesses along the road are not happy with the plans.

James Daft, who lives on Burke Road said the West Virginia Division of Highways recently tarred and chipped McKinney Cave Road, which runs into the Kingwood Pike. He said not many people live on that road, and it doesn’t have as much traffic Burke Road.

“But guess who lives out here? County Commissioner (Samantha) Stone. Why does her road need tarred and chipped when it’s not traveled as much as mine, – especially with all the customers the Dr. Mays have at their office beside my house?” he questioned.

Earlier this year the DOH graveled Burke Road, but the gravel is being washed out by flooding.

“It still defeats the huge ruts in the road at the end of my yard just before the doctor’s office,” Daft said. “It’s going to take an accident to get the state’s attention.”

He said Burke Road used to be paved all way through but is now mainly dirt. When it rains, it raises the water level of Deckers Creek and washes across the road adding more potholes and ruts.

He said he talked with members of the Division of Natural Resources who told him the culverts aren’t large enough to handle the overflow of water from the creek.

burke road flooding
Water streams near a culvert on the road.

The DNR’s Wildlife Resources Section conserves, protects and manages the state’s fish and wildlife resources, which includes rivers and creeks.

School buses travel Burke Road, as do patients visiting the Country Doctors, a family clinic. The road is also home Daft’s bike club, along with businesses and a number of homes .

Vicky Mays and her husband Al are doctors of osteopathic medicine. Country Doctors is their clinic.

Mays said she believes part of the problem is water drainage from two reservoirs. She said the drainage causes flooding before it gets to the culverts. When the culverts can’t handle the water, it leads to flooding.

Her husband agreed. He said he believes it’s just a matter of the DOH repairing the culverts and doing some work to the road.

“They (DOH) could either put in a bridge or a larger culvert. It would have to be an oval culvert. You can’t go deep enough for a round one,” he said

“When the road floods and our patients come to the water (crossing the road), they don’t want to cross it,” Vicky said.

“Even if they (DOH) would put up signs that identify it (Burke Road) as a narrow road, it would help,” she said. “I’ve seen people who cut it close (close to the ditch) because they don’t know it’s a narrow road.”

During an earlier interview County Commissioner Samantha Stone said the road has been in shambles for years.

“I was shocked when the state reclaimed it,” she said.

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