State claims North Wilkes Street will be paved this year

by Trish Rudder

Paving North Wilkes Street is on the West Virginia Division of Highways (DOH) to-do list for 2023. That’s what town and DOH officials are saying.

Bath Town Recorder Susan Webster said she submitted a personal complaint to the DOH office in Charleston and was contacted by Todd Hutchinson, Morgan County DOH Supervisor last week.

Mayor Scott Merki said he was told by the DOH 10 years ago that Wilkes Street would be paved within two years, so he is skeptical but hopeful the battered pot-holed street will get the facelift it so badly needs.

Wilkes Street is a state-maintained road that runs parallel to U.S. 522 and right in front of the Bath Municipal Center.

Hutchinson said last Tuesday that paving will be put out for bid to contractors.

He said the job would take only one to two days. His concern was making sure the parked cars are moved when they get ready to pave it, “sometime this summer,” Hutchinson said.

The 2023 scheduled paving jobs will continue into November.

Hutchinson said Commissioner Samuel Beverage on November 22, 2000 said in his written instructions regarding Wilkes Street that only paving “curb to curb” is to be done.

Mr. Beverage served as Commissioner of Highways and Secretary of Transportation under Gov. Cecil Underwood. Mr. Beverage passed away in 2018.

Webster said last Friday that she was the town mayor in 2000.  She said after U.S.522 became the main thoroughfare in town, the state gave Wilkes Street to the “City of Berkeley Springs.”

Webster said there is no city of Berkeley Springs and Wilkes Street was given back to the state. That’s when Mr. Beverage’s instructions were written that the DOH will only pave Wilkes Street “curb to curb.”

Councilman Rick Weber said in the council meeting that no unregistered vehicles will be allowed on the street once it’s paved.

Installing speed bumps should be included as part of the project, Weber said. “…as a safety issue,” Merki added.

“As long as we get it paved,” Merki said.

Webster said she wants this street to be a future Streetscape project as part of the “revitalization of the North End.”