A driving tour of Pultney Township is an eye-opening experience.
It’s one of 16 townships in Belmont County, and it has road slips that have not just narrowed the road, but have obliterated it.
Township Trustee Franklin Shaffer started our tour on Old Winding Hill Road, which starts out as a two-lane brick road and later turns to rutted pavement.
On a good day, all you have to deal with are S-curves — but with a light cover of snow, you come upon a slip that sent half the road over the hill, that you might miss if you aren’t paying attention.
On McGregor Road, there’s a slip that has sent the entire road over the edge of the hill. It’s blocked by three huge concrete barricades. People who live at the top have one way out — in the other direction.
On Mehlman Road, there are various slips. One narrows the road so much that fire and EMS vehicles can’t get through.
Shaffer says if it slips further, 18-20 people in five households would be completely stranded, and that’s just a small sampling of the problems.
He says there are $3.5 million in damages in Pultney Township alone, at a total of 22 sites.
Last week, he brought in engineers from the state, who stared at one slip in disbelief and called it the worst they’d ever seen.
He says township trustees are applying for FEMA funding to fix the slips, but it’s a long process.
In the meantime, the township has two employees who can do limited work–such as pothold patching–and 44 road miles to maintain.
He says it’s an uphill battle that they face every day.