Fire officials, residents seek answers about Rt. 19 conditions

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HARRISON COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) - As the school year gets underway, fire officials are warning parents and school bus drivers to exercise caution along a stretch of Route 19, where the road appears to be slipping.

Gayle Fratto, assistant fire chief with the Shinnston Volunteer Fire Department, says the road near Hood Avenue, along Route 19 North, has been caving in for at least a year.

According to a representative with the Division of Highways, crews put a barrier around the area in the last month, after the late July floods further deteriorated the road.

"It kicks you sideways every once in a while if you're not slowing down," said Mike Duckworth, who drives on that road about 10 times a day.

Crews set up barrels and a yield sign, limiting traffic to one lane, but the road itself has not been repaired.

The area in question is just minutes away from Big Elm Elementary School.

On its Facebook page last week, the Shinnston Volunteer Fire Department posted the following:

"As most of us in our area are aware, Hood Ave (US Rt.19 North) is closed to one lane. The WVDOH answer to the roadway failure, is barrels and signage located just North and South of Big Elm. This roadway failure is of immediate safety concern. The roadway correction has an unknown time of repair, and/or WVDOH plans to remedy the major issue.
Traffic in the North bound lane should yield to on coming traffic from the south bound lane per signage. Please use CAUTION when approaching the area. Slow down and watch for traffic. We are aware it is hard to see after you approach, so please be mindful when traveling in the south bound lane as well.
*** School and bus traffic will start Tuesday, August 15th as well. It will be of EXTREME importance to use caution as well during starting and dismissal times for Big Elm Elementary. Please allow yourself more time than usual when traveling this section as well."

A representative with the DOH says employees are "evaluating" the situation and do plan to fix and stabilize the road.