WILLIAMSON – Multiple agencies have become involved in an effort to seek a solution to solve ongoing drainage and street problems at Vinson Street.
The council has discussed the rusted and clogged drainage pipe that runs under private property at several meetings. The problem became more serious when part of the drain collapsed following heavy rains resulting in a ten foot sink hole appearing in the yard of one home. The sink hole is also inching toward the driveway and carport belonging to Walt and Maple Childress.
On Tuesday, Delegate Justin Marcum provided an update to the Williamson Daily News explaining that the problem is more serious than originally thought and that multiple agencies are involved in seeking a solution. “It is a bigger mess than it appears on the surface. We are looking at what could potentially be a multi-million dollar project,” Marcum stated.
Several issues are involved with the drainage and street concerns. One major issue is that it poses a threat to providing emergency services in the area. “If that road collapses, it will shut 911 emergency services down,” Marcum explained. This has led to the involvement of Jimmy Gianato, Director of the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security. “If not fixed, it will be a serious problem. It’s bad. It is something that has to fixed,” Marcum stressed.
The West Virginia Department of Highways (WV DOH) also plays an integral part in the repair process. “I am highly impressed with the state road’s involvement. They have been more than accommodating,” Marcum stated. “Michael Spry, Highway Administrator at WV DOH, has been vital to the effort. I commend him for his effort and look forward to working with him,” Marcum continued.
Another issue concerns obtaining permits to complete necessary repairs. Marcum explained that the project will require a permit from the Army Corp of Engineers. “It is one of the hardest permits to get,” Marcum said. Other permits will also be necessary. “There are lots of permits to obtain and a lot of red tape,” Marcum stated.
Permits will also need to be obtained from homeowners to perform the necessary repairs. In a recent emergency meeting of the Williamson City Council, Williamson Mayor, Robert Carlton discussed easement issues involved in the situation. An easement is often used by utility companies to use property for a certain purpose.
City leaders and residents have been instrumental in efforts to solve this issue. “Sherri Hairston-Brown (Williamson City Councilwoman) has been involved from the start. Also, citizens were out in the street with before and after photos when the engineers were here,” Marcum stated.
In the end, Marcum explained there is no quick fix to solving this problem. “I encourage citizens to be patient. This is not something that is going to be fixed overnight but we will stay after it,” Marcum stated.
(Courtney Pigman is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected], or at 304-235-4242 ext. 2279.)