CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice got what he asked for when Department of Highways districts sent him lists of roads that need attention.
The lists, like the roads, were in a variety of conditions. The Department of Transportation released the results on Monday evening.
Some were hand written. Some were charts. Some included lists of necessary equipment. Some were scanned sideways. Some were alphabetized. Some were detailed. Some were spare.
None were the same.
That’s what Governor Justice said he wanted.
“I don’t care if you scratch ’em on the back of a paper bag,” Justice said last week at a statewide meeting of district engineers and county supervisors.
“I don’t care how it looks. All I’ve got to know is what’s wrong. And I’ve got to know what’s the most important. And then I’ve got to know what you’ve got to have to really do aggressive maintenance and really get after it.”
The results drew some criticism from members of the public who were trying to make sense of the lists.
Scans of handwritten documents? Would have been good to have a standard document for orgs to fill out. Difficult to find my own road in the Preston County mess.
— Dave Olsen (@dmolsen) March 25, 2019
This is the worst report. Hand written is better than the poorly done PDF of an unskilled Excel spreadsheet. Wood County is the HQ for District 3 and their report is not to be found under District 3 link. Totally shameful. @WVGovernor
— NRLA09 (@NRLA09) March 26, 2019
I love WV, but seriously is this a joke? Scanned PDF of handwritten scribbles? Check district 3…come on…do better.
— Army Mountaineer (@whynotWV) March 26, 2019
Yet another embarrassment to the good people of WV. Most organizations would not accept reports submitted in this manner. This is so amateurish it is almost unbelievable. How do you propose to define a scope of work or form a plan from those lists?
— Eric Johnson (@jdj1894) March 26, 2019
Thank you district 6 for having the use of computers. Making the rest of the state jealous of your use of technology.
— Linda Mason⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@LindaMasonJar) March 26, 2019
Soooooo uhhhh…. yeah. Someone needs google sheets, excel, SOMETHING here, my goodness…
— Bryan Wilson (@BryanWilsonWV) March 26, 2019
This is why there needs to be modernization and a central database for the road inventory in WV. There should not be lists made as repairs should be noted when observed and then the conditions would be known Charleston would know what estimates are required. Modernize the DoH
— James Hundley (@JamesinaweofGod) March 26, 2019
You might add some were illegible. Some countries aren’t even listed. This list is a joke and a bad one.
— Sally (@sallymo43613951) March 26, 2019
My sympathies to the intern that has to convert all of this to a spreadsheet.
— Jim Fisher (@fisherjim) March 26, 2019
Some of the submissions by highways districts included narratives about how local officials believe West Virginia’s roads problems should be addressed.
Gordy Hardy from Summers County wrote that efforts should get back to basics.
“I would like to see our organization move away from extensive paving and focus more on what our employees and equipment are best suited for, which is routine maintenance consisting of ditching, berming, pothole patching, pipe installation, grading gravel roads, mowing and brush cutting,” Hardy wrote.
“I personally feel that, even if we add employees and equipment to perform paving and surface treatment activities, our core maintenance activities will suffer.”
Michael Aronhalt, a Putnam County highway administrator, wrote that more equipment and personnel are necessary.
“It is my opinion that to aggressively tackle the issues we are facing in our county a larger quota of employees is needed,” he wrote. “I feel that to achieve a larger staff there needs to be a quicker hiring process. I have found that many times, we have lost potential workers due to the length of time from applying to the hiring process is complete.”
That’s all the kind of feedback Justice described wanting when he gave local highways officials 72 hours to complete their lists.
“All I’ve got to know is, ‘Out at Josie Branch, the guardrail is falling in.’ And, ‘For 2.2 miles on Blair Creek, there’s 95,000 potholes that need fixed. That’s all I need to know,” the governor said last week.
The Department of Highways made no specific promises.
The web page with the list of roads needs ended with this disclaimer:
“The information provided herein was requested from WVDOH district and county offices by Governor Justice in conjunction with the Secondary Roads Maintenance Initiative. This information is disseminated for informational purposes only, is non-binding, and does not represent a promise or representation by the WVDOH of work to be performed. ”