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Locals praise street work

By Staff | Aug 13, 2010

Crews from Jefferson Asphalt smooth out West High Street last Friday. Residents were pleased with both the speed of the work and the finished product. (Photo by Michael Theis)

Many Shepherdstown residents are pleased with both the process and outcome of the recent milling and paving of some of Shepherdstown’s more deteriorated street surfaces. Residents reported minimal disturbances to their daily routine. Many praised the speed with which the work was completed, with individual sections of streets being closed down for two days or less.

“It only took one day,” said West New Street resident Alex Tice. “It wasn’t even that much of an inconvenience.”

A few doors down, neighbor Effe Kallas almost laughed off questions about the quality and speed of the work.

“There’s nothing bad to say,” Kallas said in an interview on Tuesday.

She reported no significant disruptions. When she lost access to her residential parking spots, she said she merely parked around the corner.

The approximately $200,000 project began roughly three weeks ago. In the ensuing weeks, workers methodically proceeded through town, with most streets being milled and paved within two days.

Crews worked on the most visibly deteriorated sections of Washington, King, New and Mill streets within a week and a half. By Aug. 6, most of High Street had been paved.

“We had good advance notice,” said West High Street resident Sonja Evanisko.

In the July Town Council meeting, Evanisko asked that the town use the opportunity presented by milling and paving to correct a drainage problem on her block of High Street. The problem sometimes results in storm water overflowing into her neighbors’ yards, she said.

Evanisko highlighted the work of municipal employee Kenny Shipley, who supervised the work for the town.

“Kenny deserves an extra thank you,” Evanisko said. “He was out there all day making sure the grading was right.”

Evanisko, an art professor at Shepherd University, also praised the aesthetics of the fresh asphalt.

“Visually, it makes everything look neat and clean,” she said. “I’m glad Mayor (Jim) Auxer had this done. The workers were really friendly. Kind of fun, too.”

Prior to work getting under way, city employees distributed letters to residents alerting them to the upcoming projects and instructing them to remove their vehicles from affected streets. The letter told residents that during the week of July 26 crews would be working on Washington Street between Duke and Church streets, King Street between Washington and New streets, New Street between Duke and Church streets and Mill Street from the entrance of the Rumsey Monument to German Street.

Beginning on Aug. 2, the crews were scheduled to work on the largest portion of the project, milling and paving five blocks of High Street from Church Street all the way down to the Norfolk Southern Rail Road tracks near the intersection of College and Ray streets.

Near the intersection of High and Rocky streets, the roadway has been raised by at least a foot in some places, rising above the level of the existing sidewalk. A crude asphalt curb has been laid along the south side of East High Street, with the asphalt enveloping the bases of four parking meters.

A similar asphalt curb on South King Street has drawn the criticism of some elderly residents, like Becky Schaffer, who has written about the issue in the local press. She complains that the asphalt curbing is a risk for elderly residents who may trip over it when getting out of their cars.

Keen observers will note patches of fresh asphalt laid out on King Street in front of the Town Hall. Officials have said they are waiting until after the construction of the new Town Hall to re-pave that section of the street.