Williams River Road to reopen soon in Monongahela forest

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Williams River Road to reopen soon in Monongahela forest
The Williams River edges along the Highland Scenic Highway in Pocahontas County. (Photo courtesy Rick Burgess)

COWEN, W.Va.—The Monongahela National Forest will re-open 15 miles of forest road 86 along the Williams River from Laurel Run to the entrance of Tea Creek Campground on Friday, according to a spokesperson for the forest service.

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Soon after, the scenic backcountry route that crosses through a remote section of the Allegheny Mountains will reopen entirely from Cowen, West Virginia, in the west to the Highland Scenic Highway near Marlinton, West Virginia, in the east.

Road repair began in mid-2017 after a massive June 2016 flood, according to Kelly Bridges, public affairs officer for the national forest, which protects more than 921,000 acres within a 1,700,000 acre boundary in eastern West Virginia.

The road was part of a popular shortcut between US-19 at Birch River and US-219 near Marlinton and Snowshoe Mountain.

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Bridges said the road was subject to additional flooding in 2018 and 2019, disrupting construction and requiring additional work.

On Monday, July 25, a four-mile section of Williams River Road from the entrance of Tea Creek Campground to the intersection with Forest Road 216/County Road 17 will close for spot paving.

Country store nearnCowen, WV, Webster County, Allegheny Highlands Region
Former country store on Williams River Road near Dyer, West Virginia.

Depending on the weather and other factors, the project is expected to take about one week, and the Tea Creek Campground will remain open during the spot-paving project.

Bridges said the public should plan to access the campground from the Dyer and Cowen end of Williams River Road during this time.

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Williams River Road will require additional work in the future. Before visiting the area, tourists should  the latest information:

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