Roads

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The Federal Highway Administration has awarded a $100 million grant for a West Virginia road project.

The agency announced a total of more than $321 million in grants for the Nationally Significant Federal Lands and Tribal Projects program. The grants are the first awarded under the program and will help build and repair roads and bridges that serve tribal or federal lands.

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A "Bridge to Nowhere" in southern West Virginia will have a destination in a few years.

Gov. Jim Justice held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday, May 1, for the start of work on a 3.8-mile addition to the King Coal Highway. The addition will make use of a bridge that was built a decade ago and dubbed the "Bridge to Nowhere" because the road stopped at the end of it.

Sarah Lowther Hensley / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia officials say staffing issues are slowing road repairs and they're seeking ways to hire more to increase fixes and maintenance.

A section of Interstate 77 where officials have proposed lowering the speed limit from 70 mph to 60 mph.
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West Virginia officials say they hope some new measures will make a dangerous section of Interstate 77 safer to travel.

The Bluefield Daily Telegraph reports West Virginia Parkways Authority said it would lower the speed limit from 70 to 60 by the end of April, increase patrols, and check tractor-trailers' equipment more often.

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Hours ahead of a midnight deadline to take action on bills from the regular legislative session, Gov. Jim Justice has announced a final set of approvals and vetoes.

Of the 294 bills passed this regular session, Justice signed 266 pieces of legislation and vetoed 28.

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West Virginia officials have released lists naming secondary roads across the state that need maintenance.

Gov. Jim Justice ordered Division of Highways district managers last week to compile lists of secondary roads that are most in need of repair. He also asked them to suggest projects that need continuous "aggressive" maintenance.

Gov. Jim Justice, R-W.Va., delivers his annual State of the State speech, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, in Charleston, W.Va.
Tyler Evert / Associated Press

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has ordered highway crews to compile a list of secondary road projects in their counties.

Office of Gov. Jim Justice

Gov. Jim Justice has announced a plan to address deteriorating secondary roads in West Virginia.

Justice said it is unknown how much it will cost to address issues with secondary roads. However, he said he plans to hire hundreds of temporary highway workers, many of whom he hopes will become permanent. Additionally, the plan includes purchasing maintenance equipment.  

Former West Virginia Department of Transportation Secretary Tom Smith speaking at the Fallen Worker Memorial unveiling in September, 2017.
West Virginia Department of Transportation

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has fired state transportation secretary and highways commissioner Tom Smith.

Justice announced Smith’s firing in a brief statement Sunday, March 10.

An inflammatory poster displayed outside of the House of Delegates’ chamber by participants of West Virginia GOP Day at the Capitol, launched a firestorm of remarks Friday morning. Just as the Speaker of the House called the body to order, Del. Mike Pushkin stood and launched what would be a series of remarks - Democrats condemning hate speech, while Republicans defending freedom of speech.

Roads, Road, Highway, Turnpike
Seicer / Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Jim Justice says motorists can use a website to view ongoing West Virginia road and bridge construction projects.

Justice said Monday the website Drive Forward WV lists details on 600 construction projects across the state.

I-64 Charleston
Million Moments

West Virginia's Division of Highways says it will take additional steps to increase safety in the Interstate 64 work zone between Milton and Hurricane.

Media reports say the steps were spurred by a rash of at least 25 crashes, including three fatalities. State transportation officials say the action will include increased police enforcement and enhanced signage.

Sarah Lowther Hensley / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A West Virginia county has declared a state of emergency over "deplorable" road conditions.

The Dominion Post cites a release from the Preston County Commission that says Thursday's proclamation asks the state to address several roads that "pose a danger for motorists, commercial traffic and first responders."

West Virginia Governor's Office

West Virginia Transportation Secretary Tom Smith says the Justice administration's road and bridge reconstruction initiative will start with about $350 million of road resurfacing in the next few months originally scheduled for 2018 and 2019.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

The Senate’s Transportation Committee has voted to advance a bill that would hike some taxes and fees to help increase funding for the state’s roadways. 

The bill was presented to lawmakers by Gov. Jim Justice, but is not part of his plan to generate more than $1 billion in revenues for a bond initiative. 

Justice Touts Highways Construction Plan in Statewide Tour

Feb 20, 2017
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice speaks during a stop on his Save our State tour Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017 on the Coalfields Expressway.
WVDOT

SLAB FORK, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice touted his highways construction program that would be financed by higher taxes and fees as he launched a statewide tour to promote the plan that he says would create tens of thousands of jobs in West Virginia.

The Republican majority in the Senate is starting to reveal its plan to restructure the state’s tax code. A bill introduced in that chamber Thursday would repeal the state’s income and corporate net income taxes and replace them with a higher consumer sales tax and fewer exemptions.

Gov. Jim Justice has already released his proposal to balance the state budget on tax increases and a small amount of cuts.

Minority Leaders Tim Miley and Roman Prezioso discuss the budget proposals their party will support.

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A national research group says the deficiencies, congestion, and lack of safety features on West Virginia’s roadways are costing drivers in the state more than a billion dollars every year.

Gov. Jim Justice plans to drastically change that by increasing the funding to the state’s road system, but members of the Senate have mixed feelings about whether that plan can succeed.

Flood, Elkview
Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The amount of damage done to West Virginia's roads by recent devastating floods has reached almost $55 million.

The state Division of Highways announced a revised road damage estimate Friday. The total is about $8 million higher than an estimate made by state officials on July 7, and about $19 million more than an initial estimate the week before that.

Courtesy Amillio Blevins

Since Wednesday, a rockslide has covered a portion of Railroad Yard Road, blocking some residents in Iaeger from leaving their homes.

 

Updated Monday July 25th 3:30:

 

According to Iaeger Mayor Joe Ford, local coal operator, Eddie Asbury, is on the scene of the rockslide and is in the process of removing the debris.

 

Original Story:

 

McDowell County resident, Deedra Blevins, says she plans to climb boulders Saturday evening so she can bring supplies to her 70-year-old mother, Dorothy Frost, who is one of those trapped behind the slide.

Sarah Lowther Hensley / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A bill passed in the House today that gives more local control to counties when it comes to fixing their roads. It received over an hour’s worth of debate on the floor.

House Bill 4009 allows counties to propose and fund road projects by imposing a sales tax that would not exceed 1 percent. That tax would first have to be approved by 60 percent of the voters in the county in a referendum. The road plans would then have to be approved by the Division of Highways.

The Legislature Today
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Del. Mick Bates of Raleigh County discussed his party's proposals in the House to increase road funding. Those proposals have failed so far this session, but now Bates and other members of the House are waiting to see what Senators will do with a bi-partisan bill that would increase some fees in order to generate revenue.

Two contentious pieces of legislation--one repealing the prevailing wage and the other making West Virginia a Right-to-Work state --see votes on the Senate and House floors, respectively.

Both pass by slim majorities with some lawmakers even crossing party lines in the process.

The prevailing wage repeal heads to Governor Tomblin's desk, but Right-to-Work will return to the Senate after some amendments in the House.

Sarah Lowther Hensley / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia’s representatives gave their support to a U.S. House bill that authorizes spending up to $325 billion on transportation projects during the next six years.

After three days of debate and some 100 amendments considered, House Resolution 3763, the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015, passed on a vote of 363 to 64. The bill approves more than $300 billion in spending on the country’s transportation projects. It includes $261 billion for roads and bridges.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Republican Senate Finance Chair Mike Hall has been outspoken on the issue of road funding since his party took over the legislature in January.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito is hopeful Congress can approve a long-term funding plan for the nation’s roads and bridges even though senators were forced to approve yet another short-term measure last week. The Senator made a quick stop in Nitro to talk with reporters about the measure Monday.

Members of the U.S. Senate, including Capito and Sen. Joe Manchin, approved a three-year funding bill Thursday that would mean more than $2 billion in road funding for West Virginia over the bill’s duration. 

Senators, however, were forced to also approve a short-term funding expansion through the end of October because members of the House of Representatives had already left town for their August break.

dot.gov

West Virginia will received $5 million in emergency funds from the federal government to fix storm-damaged roads.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the funding Tuesday from the Federal Highway Administration.

West Virginia Legislative Services

Friday in the House, three bills were up for passage. First was House Bill 2004, which would require a procedure for the development of a state plan in regard to the Clean Air Act.

Sarah Lowther Hensley / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The chairman of the Governor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Highways says the group will release its final report in late September almost a year after its initially set release date.

Jason Pizatella tells the Charleston Gazette the report is undergoing proofreading and editing.

Gov. Tomblin created the Blue Ribbon Commission nearly two years ago with the goal of issuing recommendations on how to better fund the state’s roadways. Commission members approved their recommendations in September of 2013, but the final report was delayed.

Sarah Lowther Hensley / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

More research has surfaced indicating the abysmal state of rural infrastructure these days, especially in West Virginia, and shortfalls in federal funding for highway maintenance could make the problem worse as well as leave many road workers filing for unemployment.

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