TEAYS VALLEY, W.Va. — State Transportation Secretary Tom Smith said a decision was made Thursday to take another step to warn motorists to slow down at a major road rehabilitation work zone on Interstate 64 in Putnam and Cabell counties.
Rumble strips were going to be installed, Smith said during an appearance on MetroNews “Talkline.”
“This will provide additional warning to motorists as they are coming through there. If they are speeding, the rumble strip will wake them up and tell them something is ahead.”
The work zone from roughly Teays Valley to Milton has already been the site of several crashes which have resulted in the deaths of three adults and an unborn child.
West Virginia State Police Superintendent Colonel Jan Cahill said more troopers will be stationed in and around the work zones watching for distracted drivers.
“I’m not even sure it’s really a good idea to be on your Bluetooth device when you’re in these areas,” Cahill said on “Talkline.” “Traffic goes to two lanes to one and there are bottleneck issues that can come on you pretty quickly.”
The Motor Vehicle Division of the state Public Service Commission has also upped its patrols in the work zone, PSC spokesperson Susan Small said.
“Not only in the weigh station on I-64 but we have roving patrols out in the construction zone looking for trucks that may not be operating as safe as they could be,” Small said.
The DOH is doing 13 interstate rehabilitation projects across the state in the months to come. Smith said the work is more extensive than a regular paving project and it’s better to do the work in the daylight hours. He said if the rumble strips work on I-64 they may use them in other construction zones.
“We’re going to be quickly looking at those, evaluating those and maybe looking to expand the use of those if they seem to be having a real positive effect–and we think they will. We really think they will,” Smith said.
Gov. Jim Justice called on Smith and Cahill Wednesday to do all they can to improve the situation.