David McCauley
Buckhannon Mayor David McCauley

Several weeks ago, I contacted the West Virginia Department of Transportation urging the state to undertake a traffic study along U.S. Route 33 in light of the seemingly endless accidents occurring before the Brushy Fork Road crossing and extending to the Kesling Mill crossing. That letter was sent to newly appointed cabinet secretary Byrd White in wake of Matt Hymes’ and Sara Downes’ fatal accident at the Childers’ Run intersection in early April.

This past Sunday, June 16, yet another accident occurred along Route 33 with another fatality and three others sustaining serious injuries. We mourn the passing of Kendra Neal, a young mother who resided on Thurman Avenue. We pray for the full recoveries of our other community residents, Ryan Neal, Diane Hyre, & Darell Hyre.

On Monday morning, I retransmitted my earlier sent letter to state representatives. This morning, I was contacted by DOH District 7 engineer, Brian Cooper, who reported to me that the matter had been referred for action weeks ago following the state’s receipt of my letter, and that a consulting group had been retained by the state to investigate this problematic stretch of Route 33 that has claimed so many lives.

We expect in the months to come, that we will receive the DOH’s full report with recommendations from the state’s consultants. Mr. Cooper indicated to me that there would be a public hearing on the report and recommendations. I offered up our Community & Training Room as the venue for the public hearing.

In the meantime, I implore all of our residents to please navigate this stretch of Route 33 as carefully as possible. Please operate your vehicles within the prescribed speed limits, and heed the stoplights and stop signs. Look carefully both ways before pulling out from the crossing points. As we engage in our moment of silent reflection this evening, let’s continue to keep in our best thoughts and prayers all of those who’ve been lost or impacted by the many accidents occurring along this highway.