Beckley residents concerned over lengthy closure of New River Drive

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – New River Drive in Beckley was closed in August due to a roadway collapse, caused by a drainage culvert pipe caving in.

It made the road unsafe for general travel and the city has had it blocked off ever since. However, with it being nearly five months since the closure, some residents are growing anxious about the lack of updates. 

“It’s just an array of excuses, and we’re tired of excuses. We want to see something done here,” said concerned resident Mel Kessler.

The road closure has greatly upset some locals in the Maxwell Hill area. They say traffic has had to diverge onto other routes and has made some intersections more dangerous for residents. They say they understand roadwork of this nature takes time, but they want some transparency.

“First we were told it would be open by the end of September, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas and we’re still at the same place. I think if they could just give us a firm deadline, that would be wonderful,” said Maxwell Woods HOA Secretary Cindy Miller.

The road connects Pikeview Drive and Robert C. Byrd Drive, and effectively serves as a shortcut. The road is closed in the middle, with businesses on either end having to make due with the changes.

On one end is the Busy Bee Child Care Center, and on the other is the Beckley Moose Lodge. The Moose Lodge says they’ve been losing regulars from the other side of town due to the road closure. 

“We’re losing somewhere between $1,000 to $1,500 a week. A lot of the community has to drive around town, around Harper Road. So it’s a big inconvenience. This road gets used a lot,” representatives with the Moose Lodge said.

Another concerned individual is Beckley City Councilman At-Large Cody Reedy. Reedy was elected this past year, and says the road closure has been a huge headache for the community.

“I’m hoping this gets solved pretty quickly. I feel like it’s gotten prolonged a little bit longer than it should have. It’s putting our citizens in distress, and it’s making it hard on them. For a road that’s been here for 30, 40 years to just all of a sudden be shut down, it’s a big impact on the community,” Reedy said.

Another issue the residents brought up was the potential effect on emergency services. They claim the road closure could be dangerous if an emergency ever happened on the other side of the construction.

Residents are hoping the city comes out with more information soon regarding the road’s construction.