Over 800 miles of paving work among record 51,000 miles of road maintenance planned in West Virginia this year
MORGANTOWN, WV – Gov. Jim Justice joined leaders and workers with the West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) for an event today to celebrate the start of spring paving season and to announce plans for one of the most ambitious years of roadwork in state history.
“It’s off the chart what’s going on with our roads in West Virginia,” Gov. Justice said. “West Virginia is the place to be. We are the destination in all the travel guides. But all this goodness wouldn’t be possible without how we continue to improve our roads.”
The event was held alongside Harner Run Road in Morgantown, which is set to be resurfaced with state-owned paving equipment and state crews. It is among the first of 266 roads across the state that will receive fresh pavement as part of this year’s program.
The Governor and WVDOT Secretary Jimmy Wriston P.E. announced that over 800 miles-worth of roadways will be resurfaced this year, with projects taking place in all 55 counties across the state. These projects alone will add up to $208 million-worth of improvements to West Virginia’s roads.
“Those numbers are just for projects that are purely resurfacing projects,” Gov. Justice said. “That doesn’t even include all the additional dollars for paving work that will be going into several other major projects through the Roads To Prosperity program.”
Additional paving projects may be added to the program over the course of the year as funding becomes available.
“We’ve got the best coach in the Governor, we’ve got the best players, we’ve got the best tools, we’ve got the best people,” Secretary Wriston said. “The revitalized West Virginia Department of Transportation is the best DOT in the country, and we prove it each and every day.”
Gov. Justice and Secretary Wriston also unveiled the WVDOT’s 2022 Statewide Interactive Roadwork Map, marking the fourth year that West Virginians will be able to access this online tool and see what roads near them are scheduled to be improved this year.
The map also provides real-time statistics on how much roadwork has been completed across a variety of categories, including Gov. Justice’s Secondary Roads Maintenance initiative and Roads To Prosperity program.
The map’s data, including the status of each project, will be updated every two weeks as roadwork continues.
Despite asphalt plants only recently opening for the spring, the WVDOT’s Division of Highways (DOH) has already been hard at work, getting a jump on road maintenance work, even through the winter months.
Through just the first three months of 2022, a total of 6,429 road projects – spanning 6,698 miles – have already been completed. Among the projects completed to date are 6,347 secondary road maintenance projects, 53 Roads To Prosperity projects, 14 slide repairs, nine paving projects, and six bridge projects.
“Today, there are 701 active construction projects going on in the state. That represents over $3 billion of active construction projects going on at one single time in West Virginia,” Secretary Wriston said. “It’s amazing, but we have even more that we’re planning to do. All of these numbers that we’re announcing today are only going to get bigger.”
The DOH has over 51,000-miles worth of maintenance projects scheduled to take place in 2022, which would break the all-time state maintenance record for the fourth consecutive year.
In 2019, Gov. Justice gathered leaders and with the DOH, including district managers and engineers, at the State Capitol in Charleston to refocus the agency’s priorities on putting road maintenance first. That year, the DOH completed over 30,000-miles worth of maintenance projects; the most roadwork completed in any year on record in West Virginia history. In 2020, the DOH bested this mark, despite complications arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, completing over 39,000-miles worth of maintenance projects. Then, in 2021, the DOH blew that number out of the water, completing over 47,000-miles worth of maintenance projects
“It’s been three straight years of record-breaking maintenance, and we’re going to break it again in 2022,” Gov. Justice said. “Think about where we were in 2019. Our roads were all to pieces. We had sold all of our equipment and, over the course of several decades, our roads had gone to you-know-where and back.
“You can’t rebuild them all on day one, no matter how hard you work. But we’re making significant progress.”
Since the Governor directed the DOH to put maintenance first, over 96,000 secondary road maintenance projects have been completed on over 124,000 miles-worth of roadways, including paving, patching, ditching, stabilization, slide repairs, and bridge projects.
The increased capability to complete maintenance projects is directly attributable to Gov. Justice’s Roads To Prosperity program.
Since the overwhelming majority of West Virginians voted to implement the Governor’s program, several successful road bond sales have freed up monies, normally committed to highway projects, that can instead be used on secondary road maintenance projects.
In addition to the increased maintenance efforts, over $1 billion worth of major infrastructure improvement projects through Roads To Prosperity have either been completed or are currently underway.
“The Governor’s Roads To Prosperity program turned this state around. It saved the state. We were upside-down until we sold those road bonds. Now look at where we are today,” Secretary Wriston said. “I can’t tell you how proud I am of this department and how proud I am to be a part of the Governor’s team.”
“Roads To Prosperity and the other programs that Governor Justice has initiated have made such a positive impact for us and our communities,” said WVDOH District 4 Maintenance Assistant Earl Gaskins at today’s event. “The members of my team show up to work, every single day, to make sure that our roads in our communities are better. And it wouldn’t be possible without the Governor’s programs and the positive changes that have been made in the Division of Highways.”
“We would never have gotten to the point we’re at now without a great team, built of strong leaders and dedicated workers all through our DOT,” Gov. Justice said. “I applaud you.
“Now can we do more? Of course we can do more,” Gov. Justice continued. “Whatever we do, we always need to make sure we’re always pumping as much as we can to make our infrastructure better because, when you make your infrastructure better, more people come.”
Also during today’s event, the Governor and WVDOT officials took time to warn West Virginia motorists about the importance of driving safely through work zones, especially with the spring paving season about to get into full swing.
“We need to respect our Highways workers as we go through these work zones,” Gov. Justice said. “They’re standing there and cars are flying by at 50, 60 miles per hour. They’re giving us everything they have to make our lives better. These people are true heroes. The very least we can do is just slow down a little bit to look after them. We need to do our part to make sure they get home to their families every night.”