The City of Charleston will provide half of the funding to pave the state-owned Oakwood Road after of years of neglect and damage.
Oakwood Road will be paved from U.S. 119 to Bridge Road and on to Loudon Heights Road to Connell Road. The total project will cost $300,000 and the West Virginia Division of Highways will reimburse the city for 50 percent of it. Charleston Councilman Bruce King, a Democrat representing Ward 17, and the lone opposition to the resolution, asked why the city was only asking for 50 percent reimbursement from DOH.
“It’s been neglected for a decade,” Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin said. “It was a priority when I got here because it leads to the three largest schools in the state. We can’t just say this is not our problem.”
John Adams Middle School, George Washington High School and Overbrook Elementary are all along, or off, that road. Holz Elementary is on Loudon Heights Road but beyond the paving project area.
To be able to fund the project, the city needed to delay part of the paving planned for Kanawha Boulevard. Paving the Boulevard was part of a larger project that involved the city spending $2.6 million to pave more than 70 streets across the city.
Kanawha Boulevard required the most asphalt — 3,563 tons — and was initially supposed to be paved from Capitol to Greenbrier streets. Now the Boulevard will be paved from the South Side Bridge to Greenbrier Street.
None of the other roads in the project will be affected. City manager Jonathan Storage said the city chose to delay this part of the Boulevard because the Charleston Sanitary Board plans to do a pipe improvement project this summer.
“We didn’t want to pay to have it paved just to have the CSB tear it up,” Storage said.
Storage said the paving on Oakwood Road will begin sometime this summer and the project should take about a week to complete.
Councilman Sam Minardi, a Democrat representing Ward 15, said he agrees the street needs to be paved, but is nervous about the ramifications it could have with future paving projects on state roads that run through the city.
“It’s a dangerous precedent we’re setting and I know our city manager has great contacts at DOH and I hope this is just a one off,” Minardi said. “But I don’t hope they come to us for every state road in city limits.”
However, Goodwin told the council she wasn’t worried about setting a precedent. She said the DOH has been cooperative thus far, and added that Storage has a good relationship with them from when he previously worked there.
“We have great cooperation with the DOH, and I think we did a good job of identifying roads that need time and attention and of course you can’t hit every single road,” Goodwin said. “But I think with this administration and great communication that our city manager has with the Division of Highways, I’m not worried about that in the least.”