The proposed U.S. 522 bypass project around Berkeley Springs, West Virginia is raising concerns for residents nearby, who say the project will cause safety and accessibility issues on a well-traveled road.
Longtime residents Chris Haldeman and Andrea LaRue are just a few who take the north end of Sugar Hollow Road in Berkeley Springs, as it is closer to 522 than the south end, a steep stretch of road.
“When I purchased the place, I planned to live here forever,’ said Morgan County resident Chris Haldeman, who lives nearby on Dark Hollow. “I wouldn’t have bought it with that type of access, because it isn’t safe.”
They say the current bypass design creates issues that didn’t exist before.
“When the bypass goes through… it is going to fill in this valley, so we will no longer be able to use this end of Sugar Hollow Road. We’ll be forced out the other end,” said LaRue. “The issue with that is just past here, the road becomes extremely steep.”
As a Morgan County school substitute bus driver, Haldeman’s concern is the safety of the students.
“The proposed route is going to force us to take our vehicles up and down there every day, regardless of whether because it will be our only option in and out,” said Haldeman.
They are not against the project, but hope that the West Virginia Department of Transportation officials would consider alternate routes that would not affect their livelihoods. They say they’ve attended public meetings, and received response from local politicians, but more still needs to be done.
“We’ve had limited response back, and that’s the frustrating part. Let us know what’s going on,” said Haldeman.
We reached out to the West Virginia Department of Transportation for comment, but have not heard back.