CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Division of Highways has begun to gather more information in its 10 districts on project updates and concerns for 2019.
The department (DOH) started a series of follow-up meetings from fall discussions Tuesday in Charleston at the District One headquarters.
The discussions, that included several legislators, county officials and state Secretary of Transportation Byrd White on Tuesday, will be held around the state centering around funding, secondary roads and Roads to Prosperity projects.
“Last year we had these meetings as a kickoff,” Travis Knighton, DOH District One Engineer said. “It was a way for us to get to the commissions to explain the Roads to Prosperity. Today (Tuesday), we are here talking about how we are funded and what is on the horizon for this year as far as the district and what we are able to do.”
District One consists of Boone, Clay, Kanawha, Mason, and Putnam counties. The other nine districts will have meetings similar in the coming weeks.
State Senator Glenn Jeffries (D-Putnam) was in attendance discussing the issues in his district and said he knows the importance of these informational type meetings.
“I come to hear what projects are going to be put out for bid, what projects will be completed and also what needs to be looked at for future projects as far as future funding,” he said.
“I think that we all realize that there is a huge deficit within our road repairs that we need to come up with additional funding to be able to keep up with what we have.”
District One is crowded with Roads to Prosperity projects, including the Jefferson Road project which was vastly talked about at the Tuesday meeting.
Jeffries asked for an update on the project to DOH officials. The road project in South Charleston has been considered for years but according to Jeffries, the Roads to Prosperity program put the project on the map to be completed.
He said the project will have an effect not only on traffic but on multiple facilities in the area including the South Charleston Technology Park and a strip mall at the old FMC plant site, where tenants are ready to move in once the project is moving.
DOH officials said at the meeting that the project is still being evaluated and they are working on an agreement to begin the work.
Jeffries said the funding for the project listed at over $46 million is there but the completion comes down to understanding what the project does.
“I think that once the Secretary (White) sits down and he runs through the information of what the capabilities of this project has for future expansion and future economic development, I think that he’ll be putting his signature on it to move it forward,” Jeffries said.
Aside from Roads to Prosperity projects, paving, ditching, slide, and patch jobs and solutions were talked about in the five counties and will be discussed in all districts.
Each county’s budget quota will be laid out in these meetings along with the four main issues of the core plan.
Knighton said these meetings started during the current administration and they plan to continue the meetings every year after the legislative session.
“I think it is a good way for us to communicate directly with them and for them to communicate directly with us,” he said of legislators and officials. “They ask the pointed questions that they get from their constituents and they get an answer today.”
The DOH will be in Weston on Wednesday night for a District Seven meeting.