Marland Heights access study sought

ALTERNATIVES SOUGHT — A tree falling over Marland Heights Road Monday morning resulted in traffic congestion throughout the day. Some residents are asking city officials to look into traffic alternatives, including an emergency access road.

WEIRTON — A Weirton resident approached city officials Monday, requesting they look into traffic alternatives after a fallen tree resulted in congestion for much of the day on Marland Heights Road.

Mike Mudrick, who lives on Marland Heights, spoke during Monday’s City Council meeting about the issue, saying many residents were discussing the issue.

The tree fell across Marland Heights Road shortly after 7 a.m., also hitting some power lines, with emergency crews spending the morning and early afternoon clearing the site, with traffic flow alternating as needed.

“Throughout the day, it became a big topic of conversation on social media,” he said.

Mudrick, who was the only resident to address council on the issue Monday night, requested council look into the feasibility of either a second road or an emergency access road, noting there has been some subsidence along Marland Heights Road and he’s concerned residents may experience additional problems in the future.

“When that happens, it’s not going to be a quick fix,” Mudrick said.

Ward 5 Councilman Douglas Jackson explained the issue of a secondary road has been discussed for many years in the city, with various feasibility studies performed. The first, he said, took place in 1976.

“They wanted to cut a road down the back of Marland Heights to Half Moon,” Jackson said.

At the time, Jackson explained, constructing a secondary road as proposed would have cost $28 million.

In 1991, he said, there were discussions of extending Heaslett Avenue for use as an emergency road. The downtown business community, Jackson said, pushed back and the project lost its momentum.

As for Monday’s incident, Jackson said there was only a minimum amount of time where traffic was not moving on Marland Heights Road, explaining crews alternated the flow.

“Two lanes were closed for seven minutes,” Jackson said, adding Marland Heights was fully accessible to emergency vehicles.

Jackson said he would push for an emergency access road, explaining it would be the most cost effective.

“We can demonstrate the need,” he said. “It will not be swept underneath the rug.”