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UPDATE: Vacation of a portion of a township road on mine-owned property approved

WTOV

UPDATE:

Belmont County commissioners voted to vacate 1.1 miles of Wayne Township Road 87 on Mayhugh Road on Wednesday.

The stretch of road runs entirely through Century Mine property. The vote was unanimous in favor of the American Energy Corporation. Officials say closing it is essential to continued operation of the mine and producing coal at competitive cost.

PREVIOUS: Wednesday, December 6th 2017

Belmont County commissioners are considering a request regarding the abandonment of a local, township road.

Fifteen people have signed a petition in support of the vacation 1.1 miles of Wayne Township Road 87 on Mayhugh Road, while other residents are vying to keep it open.

American Energy Corporation is seeking to close the road to allow access to a proposed refuse area for its Century Mine.

Commissioners heard testimony from representatives of American Energy during a hearing Wednesday.

James Turner, senior vice president for Murray Energy, explained during a public hearing that the road runs entirely through mine property. Turner says closing the road is essential to continued operation of the mine and producing coal at competitive cost.

"Nearly half of what we produce every day ends up in a refuse pile,” Turner said. “You have to separate the raw from the coal, and we have to have a place to put the refuse. So why this is so important to us, is it allows us to keep our footprint as compact as possible."

Wayne Township Trustee William Davis voiced opposition to the closure, stating an inconvenience for township vehicles accessing roads on the east side of the mine.

"I've had complaints about it being closed and concerns about it being closed, but I don't know how much they use this road because we haven't done a traffic study on it,” Davis said. “We don't know."

Will Eddy, representing Belmont County Engineer Terry Lively, says the engineer recommends denying the request of petitioners to vacate the road.

Lively was not in attendance for the hearing.

Commissioner Chair Mark Thomas made a motion to delay the decision to allow Lively to review testimony from the hearing before the board makes its decision next Thursday.

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