WELCH, WV (WOAY) – The City of Welch is planning a new bridge project to combat a recurring flooding issue.
Two railroad underpasses in Welch are frequent spots for flooding issues. Mayor of Welch Harold McBride took it upon himself to find a permanent solution to this issue in the form of a bridge overpass, after seeing the harsh situation the town was in after previous floods.
Earlier this year, both underpasses were blocked by overflowing water, leaving important routes blocked off, including roads leading to the hospital.
“You couldn’t get an ambulance anywhere and for a short period of time Route 52 had a slide on it and was blocked. We were actually hemmed in, we could not go anywhere,” McBride said.
The bridges are only in the planning stages right now, but if constructed, they would permanently solve the flooding issues. This has been an ongoing issue in the town for a long time and the town has always tried to find a temporary way around the issue, and according to the mayor, they can’t do that any longer.
“Used to the railroad would let you go over the tracks when the street flooded, you can’t do that anymore. Some of the other streets that we used to try to use are getting in such bad shape, you can’t really depend on them.”
According to the mayor, the town will eventually lose lives if the flooding issue isn’t solved soon. And with their bridge project, they’re hopeful to see the situation get under control.
“At some point we’ll end up losing a life here and everyone knows that. We had ambulances that couldn’t get anywhere for six hours and at some point, we’ll lose a life.”
Technically only a portion of the proposed 900 foot overpasses are bridges, and the rest is just an incline. So building them would not take nearly as much time or money as one would think. The town is also meeting with the Department of Highways to figure out the initial steps to get the project underway.
After meeting with the Department of Highways, the city will begin planning a budget and time frame for the project.