CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Some of the top minds in the nation in the world of road maintenance have converged on Charleston. The West Virginia Department of Transportation is the host of the sub committee on maintenance of the American Association of State Transportation Officials.

“Every maintenance engineer across the country, in al of the states will be here in Charleston,” said Department of Transportation Spokesman Brent Walker. “They’ll be talking about how to preserve roads across the country.”

The group has a number of events planned for the conference which runs from Sunday through Thursday. Topics will include road maintenance, highway construction, and how best to preserve the roads already in existence. Walker said it’s a hot topic right now in the world of state Departments of Highways.

“The big push is preservation and maintenance of existing facilities in light of not much money on new road construction,” said Walker. “We’ve got to figure out a new way to preserve and maintain what we already have.”

Walker said the conference is an opportunity for those dealing with similar issues daily to share ideas and learn from one another.

“Some of the southern states don’t see those four season as we do and some of the northern states which deal with the kind of winter we’ve had,” Walker said. “It’s great to get everyone together and share what each other is doing.”

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  • Ashlee

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  • Fred

    The state of W.Va. allows coal trucks (and others) to operate while grossly overloaded. Does this have any effect on the condition of our roads and highways?

  • GregG

    My question is.......... how much tax payer money is being wasted on this conference?

  • Mason County Contrarian

    Given the irony of this conference being held here, I feel we should all check our calendars.

    Is this April 1?

  • Independent View

    Although your comments are well placed, here's my position on the subject of highway maintenance.
    If a business owner does not budget enough money to maintain his business, whether it is structures/buildings, production equipment, vehicles, computers, parking lots, etc. at some point these capital maintenance costs will force him to either borrow capital or close the business.
    Since state DOH's are guaranteed a constant annual cash flow, they become unconcerned about maintaining present roads & bridges, believing the money will always grow and flow. The result is charging ahead building new roads and bridges, while neglecting existing ones. Governors and politicians do not get reelected maintaining existing roads & bridges. They get reelected by building new ones. State highway commissioners don't keep their appointed jobs with maintenance. DOH management personnel don't get promotions or raises by making maintenance their top priority. What happens when maintenance is ignored or given token support? The present situation that we are now in where politicians and state DOH administrators sit on their hands while crying to Congress and the traveling public that we need billions in federal funding! For what? MAINTENANCE WORK!
    Further, each spring DOH crews march out to our pothole-laced roads, throw down some asphalt and spread it with a motor grader. When finished one can read the Charleston Gazette through it. Result, they are back next spring, fixing the same places. Fix it correctly the first time and stop wasting millions on stop-gap repairs!

    • Aaron

      I don't disagree with you assessment but what you must consider is how a business owner suddenly reacts if the building he is in gets to the point that it cannot hold increasing clientele? If there's a line to get in the store or no place to park, customers will go elsewhere for their needs.

      I also do not disagree that our Department of Highways has mismanaged our road system but then given the state of West Virginia government, is anyone really surprised?

      I'm curious though, what type of maintenance are you referring to, the everyday stuff that is completed by our local DOH or heavy maintenance that is bid out?

  • Independent View

    If the respective state highway commissioners' maintenance staff do not know how to maintain highways, WV DOH staff are not the ones that should be trying to impart that knowledge to them.
    Further, if the WV DOH have not learned how to maintain highways in the 100 years of their existence, it's too little, too late now.
    This is more of a Lobbying Congress 101 Seminar and forming a better "Chicken Little" plan of scare tactics to foster fear among the traveling public that the next bridge that they travel over may collapse due to a lack of "infrastructure funding" unless Congress funds billions for highway maintenance.
    The sad commentary on our highways, bridges and infrastructure in general is that nowhere is anybody held accountable for its failure!!! Another poster hit the proverbial nail on the head: Maintain what you already have before building new. I'd add make sure that you can properly maintain whatever you plan to build, before you build it.
    Final comment, bet it will be tough to get a tee time around Charleston while this conference is in session and the Badlands along Rt. 60 will probably experience a banner week! All this at the expense of the taxpayer's of each respective state attending.

    • Aaron

      "Another poster hit the proverbial nail on the head: Maintain what you already have before building new. "

      It's not an either/or proposition. The best way to improve our economic standing is to improve our infrastructure by widening interstate 64 three lanes from Nitro to Huntington, completing the King Coal Hwy, Coalfields Expressway, I 73/74, Corridor, Corridor H, widening of Route two from Parkersburg to Weir.

      For all the talk of new economies in the southern part of the state, for WV to stop relying on Coal, and other such chatter, the only sure way that businesses will come to West Virginia and spend their money is if we have the infrastructure to move their product in and out of their locations and get their people to work.

      Maintaining what we have before making improvement does nothing more than maintain the status quo. Is that really what West Virginia's need?

      • Jeff

        Haha yeah if only we had more roads to maintain southern WV would be prosperous.

        Just admit you want your public funded coal roads constructed.

        • Aaron

          That's pretty much what I thought Jeff. You have nothing beyond some tripe comment to add to the conversation.

          • Aaron

            I'm curious Jeff, have you ever traveled from Williamson to Princeton or Logan to Beckley?

            Given the tone of your comments, my guess would be no but if it's not, tell me which routes you took and the obstacles you encountered.

          • Jeff

            What?? You're transparent, there's nothing left to say. Southern WV isn't a few pork highways away from becoming NOVA. You have more sense than that.

            And your position that the public should foot the high price for a huge strip mine and the roads to move it out in a very low population area says it all.

        • Aaron

          Why, I do not live in southern WV, I live in Putnam County which currently has zero coal mined.

  • any major dude

    The conference will run right up to the deadline for the Federal Highway Trust Fund funding out of DC. Maybe they can talk about how to preserve roads across the country without federal funding. And pardon my skepticism, but is this conference really going to result in better road maintenance or is it just a good excuse to catch up with old friends, schmooze and booze, and get out of the office for a few days? Oh well, at least it'll give the hotel occupancy tax a bump.

  • JTL

    Hmmmmm, are we going to teach other states how to take their enourmous gas taxes and use the disguise of road maintenance to pork belly the funds into their pockets as we've done? It's time for us to fight back on election day.

  • Bob the Engineer

    Hope they talk and WV listens how to deal with trucks who do not have the correct numbers of axels to haul their loads which exceeds capacity of most WV roads.

  • Teach

    Vienna Guy got it right! Why haven't the roads been maintained over the years! The state was bragging about how much money the DOH had saved this year, because they did very little during winter! We live in the mountain state and we don't buy enough salt or cinders to treat the roads.

    We (teachers) will not tolerate another year with 20+ snow days for local schools! We are told to do our job and we are willing to work our 180 days, the DOH just needs to do their job and clear the roads so we can get there!

    I'm sick of Dem. and Rep. we just need good, honest people running this state. We already pay enough taxes! Where does all the fuel tax go??? I hope that they take those people for a ride on our WV roads! What a joke - come down to central and southern WV on our pot-hole filled roads! LOL!

    I hope this conference is not another waste of tax payers dollars! Maybe the rich should step up to the plate and pay their taxes like the mid-class. I don't think people should even get the privilege to vote if they don't pay taxes! Why are we letting the big oil and gas corporations get away with making trillions and it's crushing America! We shouldn't even pay the prices that we are at the pumps for gasoline! But WV's can't walk to our jobs!! We are America - people are dying to get here, but if we don't do something soon our own country is going to crumble along with our roads and schools!

    • Beekeeper

      That's an ironic comment considering the pay raise teachers received this year compared to the pittance all other state workers got.

  • Dumb Liberals

    Lectures to include the "Proper usage and position to lean on a shovel"; "How 10 Supervisors can micro-manage one employee"; "Proper placement of the milk stool to achieve maximum overtime pay"; " How to take a Mattox proposed design-build project with a one-year time frame and stretch it into a three year, multi-million dollar cost overrun boondoggle"!

  • Aaron

    We have the money to not only maintain our current infrastructure but to build the roads needed for the next century. Instead of using it wisely our Democratic leaders in Charleston have chosen to squirrel it away for future pet projects under the guise of a future fund. Sen. Jeff Kessler is the catalyst for this waste of money and should be held responsible for his lack of leadership.

  • Gary Karstens

    Need revenues? The solution is simple: raise taxes. We have arrived at this point.

    George Bush ran this country into the ground with dumb policies of lowering taxes and at the same time going to the most idiotic wars the world has seen. We spent a fortune in Iraq for nothing. YEESH!

    • Guardian

      John F. Kennedy lowered taxes because in his words, lowering taxes ultimately meant increased gross revenue dollars coming into Washington. Translated - people will find a dodge or a loophole when taxes are high, but will pay them when they are lower.

      By the way - speaking of idiotic wars - JFK sent the "advisors" into Vietnam which began the trip down the rabbit hole of that boondoggle.

  • ViennaGuy

    - “The big push is preservation and maintenance of existing facilities in light of not much money on new road construction,” said Walker. “We’ve got to figure out a new way to preserve and maintain what we already have.” -

    It's amazing how taking care of what we've got suddenly becomes important when the money tightens up. Hey - maybe you should have been taking better care of the roads in the first place!

    Maintaining what you have is nearly always cheaper than replacement, the exception being functional obsolescence.

  • Mason County Contrarian

    Anything on the completion of Rt. 35?