KF hearing

A large poster displayed by the Division of Highways at a public hearing on a road improvement project showed photos of the problems affecting the Kanawha Falls Bridge.

My brothers and sisters who live in Kanawha Falls, Boonesborough, and Deepwater, please heed my heartfelt advice. I know your hearts are pure. But I hope you also eat a heart-healthy diet and engage in vigorous cardiovascular exercise.

The way things are now: You know if you had a heart attack, you will be hugging Jesus’ neck before they could get an ambulance to you.

And, my sisters and brothers in Never-never-land, please make sure there is nothing combustible in your homes. You know the ways things are now: If a fire broke out in your homes, you will be greeting the saints in heaven before a fire truck could get to you.

But I know your hearts are right and your tickets to heaven are stamped, so who cares if you cannot get to the outside world?

Who needs bridges or safe and drivable roads?

Not us in the Valley section of Fayette County.

And where would you want to go anyway?

Gee? Do you want to go to Montgomery? Why? Montgomery has a nice gym where you could get that cardiovascular exercise, but the powers that be are trying to take the gym away, too.

They must be following in the path of Genghis Gee who gave orders to dismantle West Virginia Tech. Once Genghis pulled the plug on Tech, the sucking forces drained Montgomery of churches, homes, gas stations, businesses, and nearly everything else you can name.

But my Valley brethren, take heart. I know we are tough.

Look how many years the good people of Kanawha Falls and Boonesborough had to fight for safe drinking water. Now there are pipes that run under the Kanawha Falls Bridge to provide water. But I guess the bridge will just rot over the pipes. Or maybe the water pipes are the only thing holding up the bridge?

Our favorite editor, Cheryl Keenan, covered a meeting of affected parties that our wonderful state Senator Stephen Baldwin asked Department of Highways officials to attend. If Keenan wrote the story, we know it is correct. She quoted Jimmy Wriston, new commissioner for the Department of Highways, who stated truthfully, that when they closed the bridge last November “It created a hardship.”

Truer words never spoken. But now let me add my amazing powers of the English major. Wriston also said, “It’s not a feasible project to rehabilitate that bridge. …It would be totally irresponsible to go up there to spend $40 million to build a new bridge. …”

English major translation: You, sisters and brother, are not worth it to DOH and the Justice administration!

So they closed the bridge. Child’s play. That was not enough. Now they want drivers to detour to Jenkins Branch Road in Beckwith in addition to the closure they now must endure.

As the honest folks at DOH estimate, this will mean up to an hour of extra travel time and 18.3 more miles in one’s daily commute.

We didn’t go soft by having mail delivered right to our doors. We didn’t go soft when they took our grocery stores away.

The people of Montgomery have no grocery stores in the whole town, but you do not see them begging for a crust of bread!

And for months people who travel on U.S. 60 near Montgomery have had to drop their speeds to 25 miles an hour and pray all the other drivers understand the new traffic pattern. Has there been any work done in what is designated a work zone? Of course not. What do you think this is — the Plateau?

We just know that in the future our children will do better than we did. They will go to great schools and become well-educated.

Damnation! I forgot. They took all of our schools, too!

Now don’t think I am bitter and complaining. Who cares if we have to drive farther for less? Who in their right mind would want to set a straight course and be able to drive right to it? What would be the fun in that?

Daniel Boone, for whom Boonesborough is named, had no such conveniences. He cut his own trail.

In the valley, we say bring on all the obstacles you can imagine.

And I imagine that is just what the outside forces arrayed against us do. They imagine how to torture us and then they put pen to paper.

How else could highways staff come up with their plans to keep the Kanawha Falls Bridge closed while they make people who live in that area travel further and in more inconvenient ways?

The plans were surely not troubled by logic or concern for the people who live in those areas.

It’s actually what we truly want. Keep your safe roads and your glittering bridges. Take our schools, post offices, and grocery stores.

We are tough. We will survive.

We also know how to count in the Valley. Our subtractions will add up someday.

Williams is a contributing columnist who lives in Falls View.

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