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State DOH Upshur County Supervisor Ben Claypool attended the Feb. 29 Upshur County Commission meeting to answer any questions the commissioners might have about the DOH's plans to reduce flooding on the road. (Photo by Monica Zalaznik)

DOH supervisor asks for community’s patience as it implements a remedy for Morgan Addition flooding

BUCKHANNON – The West Virginia Division of Highways has a plan to improve the flooding problem on Morgan Addition Road.

State DOH Upshur County Supervisor Ben Claypool attended the Feb. 29 Upshur County Commission meeting to answer any questions the commissioners might have about the DOH’s plans to reduce flooding on the road. Morgan Addition is located in the floodplain along the Buckhannon River near the Poe Bridge.

“We’ve been getting kicked pretty hard for the last few weeks over the situation there,” Claypool said of the DOH. “The issue causing the flooding is on private property, so it is not a DOH problem per se, but it’s a problem causing flooding and stranding residents, and we’re trying to alleviate the issue the best we can.”

“Since it’s on Morgan Addition, the floodplain is an issue; there’s a lot of a lot of red tape to get through, so we are in the process of construction plans,” Claypool added.

He said the DOH has obtained permanent drainage easements from the landowners, and they have the final phase of permits on city engineer Jay Hollen’s desk now.

“We have had a diesel-powered, six-inch water pump sitting there for a month, and every time the water gets over that road, I have guys out there manning that pump-to-pump water off the road for you guys, night and day,” Claypool said. “I guess I’m here to ask for patience because I know you [the commissioners] understand the red tape and what has to be done.”

Claypool said City of Buckhannon employees have been helpful while they investigated a solution.

“They’ve all been extremely helpful because we’ve had to dig down and find all the utilities, take elevation shots to see if the pipe replacement was even feasible, and they’ve been extremely helpful with all that,” Claypool said. “At this moment, we’re hopefully in the final stages of all the permits.”

“The last permit that I’m going to need finalized is on Jay’s desk, waiting for him to sign off on it and when he does, then we can start construction within a week or so,” he added.

Claypool also predicted the work could be done within a week.

“The DOH is going to install, provide and pay for the pipe through the private property that is failing at this time,” Claypool said. “That pipe was installed in the late ‘70s, so it’s been there for a long time – it was probably there before all the floodplain restrictions were so restrictive,”

“I’m not blaming the current landowner for that problem,” he added, “and they should not have to pay, for that incident.”

The new pipe will not completely stop the flooding, but it will allow the water to drain faster.

“What we’re going to do is not going to solve the issue – that area is still going to have flooding,” Claypool said. “What we’re going to do is get the water off the road a lot faster than what it currently is right now. When the water gets on the road, you’re looking anywhere between seven to 12 days before it drains on its own.”

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