BUCKHANNON - A Tennerton resident expressed a safety concern to the Upshur County Commission Thursday about pedestrians walking along U.S. Route 20.
Buck Edwards told Commissioners he has seen, on multiple occasions, pedestrians walking along the edges of the road to get to businesses because there is no sidewalk in the area.
"I have noticed as I travel on Route 20, there through Tennerton and Buckhannon, that there is quite a bit of pedestrian traffic that walks along that road going to Kroger's, The Dollar Store, whatever," Edwards said. "It seems to me that would be a great place to construct a sidewalk from Hardee's, ideally to Brushy Fork, specifically, on the northbound side of Route 20 there.
"It's just unbelievable, the amount of foot traffic, bicycle traffic," Edwards said. "There's even a handicapped wheelchair guy who maneuvers through that area. I'd just like to find a way to get that project started."
Commission President J.C. Raffety said Edwards is not the first person who has inquired about sidewalks along the road. He said the road was a state highway, and that could have an impact on whether the placement of sidewalks is possible.
"The county does not maintain highways or roads," Raffety said. "There's a right-of-way that would have to be obtained from the Department of Highways... We could find out what the legal requirements would be if in fact we have the authority to do something along those lines."
Edwards said the lack of sidewalks in the area pose a safety
"My biggest fear, the other day I saw three little kids trying to walk on the northbound side of that road, and it really made me nervous for those kids, especially at that time of the day," Edwards said. "I'm willing to step up and help do a project like that. I'll do whatever it takes to help with something like that, but I would like for you to at least consider that and tell us what we need to do get it started."
Edwards also offered his help to get the proposed project started.
"I know that would be a pretty big project, but I would think that it would be one that would be well worth the County Commission taking a look at just from a health and safety standpoint," Edwards said. "Plus, we have all of those residents in the Tennerton area who come to Kroger's and The Dollar Store to shop, so it does have an economic impact."
Commission President Donnie Tenney said the Buckhannon River Walk, a walking trail, could extend toward Buckhannon-Upshur High School in the future and help to alleviate that problem. He said it's a long-term goal of the project.
"That would probably be the most feasible method to try and pursue," Tenney said. "Fortunately, no one's been hurt, but the walking trail would be behind it, but it would be close to the road (so) they could use that and at least hop up to that, so that's something you might check with the city (about) and see what their long-term plans and goals are and how that process works... I know that was the goal, to continue that right up to the high school."