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.

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. ”


The reports measure 21 inches high.