NEW CUMBERLAND, W.Va. — Hancock County has become the third county in West Virginia to declare a “state of emergency” when it comes to road conditions. The Hancock County Commission approved a resolution Thursday.
Commission President Joe Barnabei said commissioners have seen and reviewed plans for the repairs of existing roads and the construction of new projects but have seen very little progress. He said the roads throughout the county continue to deteriorate. He said they took the vote to send a message.
“There’s a lot of talk and a lot of meetings but some of those meetings could be held in a car driving over the roads,” Barnabei said. “It would be nice to have the governor himself to come up. He ran on roads,” Banabei said.
The Preston County Commission declared a state of emergency last year in connection with its roads and the Marshall County Commission took a similar vote earlier this spring.
Gov. Jim Justice visited Moundsville on April 22 for a grant presentation but instead heard from several residents about the road conditions in the county. He promised repairs and a return trip in 45 days.
“Just give me this summer,” Justice said. “Just give me the time that I am now dialed completely into the secondary roads situation.”
Barnabei said Hancock County also has a serious problem.
“We’re just looking for results and we haven’t seen any results,” he said. “We see some sporadic patching of some previous patching.”
Barnabei said some of the poorest conditions are found on Route 2 between Weirton and New Cumberland. Other difficult to travel areas include parts of Swearingen Hill Road, Kings Creek Road, Locust Hill Road, Culler Road, Pennsylvania Road, Cove Road and Weirton Heights.
“We get the phone calls (from residents) and when you no longer can give good answers it doesn’t look good on our part,” Barnabei said.
He said this summer and fall are going to be a crucial time in his county. He said he can’t imagine what the roads will look like when cold weather returns if something isn’t done.
“If they don’t get better it will be worse and I don’t know how much worse they can get,” Barnabei said.
Barnabei said the young grandson of his friend may have summed it up best..
“It’s sad when a four-year-old grandson in the back of my buddy’s car when he traveled here into Weirton a little while back said, ‘Pap we’re close to your house–I can feel the bumps.’ You can kind of laugh about it but it’s not funny anymore,” Barnabei said.