Noted traffic decreases, personnel practices take shape on West Virginia Turnpike

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Turnpike is much different this spring compared to years past.

Vehicle traffic has declined amid the coronavirus pandemic, and while employees continue to work, procedures are in place to ensure they remain safe.

West Virginia Parkways Authority General Manager Greg Barr told MetroNews passenger car traffic is down 70% as West Virginia and neighboring states continue having shelter-in-place orders in effect.

Greg Barr

“That’s an indication that a lot of citizens are abiding by that new shelter-in-place requirement,” he said with optimism in his voice. “That’s a good thing to kill this virus off.”

Cargo truck traffic has also declined, but Barr estimates the decline is around 10%.

“The trucks are still rolling. Our travel plazas are packed with trucks every night,” he said. “They are carrying the needed supplies. Food, medical supplies, cleaning materials. Everything to keep us going during these difficult times.”

One restaurant and bathrooms remain open at each travel plaza. Food is take-out only.

Maintenance crews have been divided into groups and placed on separate schedules to limit interactions with other employees. Toll collectors are required to wear gloves and change gloves every break and shift change. Employees also have access to cleaning supplies and masks, though Barr noted the masks are not mandatory to use.

“They are essential employees of the Turnpike,” he said.

Barr said while toll booths remain open, transportation officials are developing contingency plans “for every contingency we can think of.”





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