Highway 19 project displaces residents and business owners in County Raleigh


RALEIGH COUNTY, WV (WVNS) – Several road projects in County Raleigh are forcing some people and businesses to find a new home.

Former Frenchies beauty salon owner Barbara French told 59News she never thought they would see the day when the roads on Route 19 would be widened.

“They said it was going to happen, they didn’t know exactly when,” French said.

The West Virginia Department of Transportation is moving forward on two different projects along Route 19. One of these projects focuses on adding an intermediate turn lane to the portion of the route. 19 at Beaver, as well as on the widening of existing tracks. As part of the project, several residents and businesses in the region are bought out and forced to move. While the Department of Transportation offers money to those they move, some believe the money is not worth it.

“I don’t know if this will help a lot. I mean, there are a lot of crashes that way and a lot of people in Beckley don’t realize there’s that much traffic here, ”French said.

Frenchies owned and operated by French people until purchased by the state. While she was planning to retire soon, she feels like she couldn’t do it on her own terms. French said she was upset for other business owners in the same position.

“I know there have to be road improvements to make things better, but you know it’s just sad to see some businesses shutting down and I was sad for mine,” French said.

French said she also felt bad for people forced to leave their homes. A woman has been leaving her home for 56 years to try to find another place to live.

“Well that was really a puzzle because at 85 I think somebody should inflate the throne and sit there and put a crown on my head and say yes ma’am, what can I do? do for you, ”said Bertha Pack, a longtime County Raleigh native.

Pack said that while he will miss the memories his home gave him, life is too short to dwell on the things you can’t control.

“Life throws you a lot of curve balls, but you can take that curve ball and hit it out of the park and get a home run,” Pack said.

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