6:00: Morning News

Contractors are ready to go to work on road maintenance

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Members of the West Virginia Contractors Association were thrilled with the Legislature’s approval of $150 Million in funding this week for more than 400 highway maintenance projects across the state.

According to Association Executive Director Mike Clowser, the redirection of funding makes up for a lag the Department of Highways has experienced with revenues from the gasoline tax.  The gas tax revenues, where much of the maintenance funding comes from,  are well behind estimates for 2021.

“If you look at the types of project this $150 Million is going to address, that money has really not been available up until this point,” Clowser said on MetroNews Talkline.

 

The money is surplus revenue from the current fiscal year collections and has now been redirected toward those maintenance projects. Clowser said this would start to infuse more money into the state’s economy.

“We will see paving contractors buy stone and hire guardrail subcontractors and striping subcontractors. We’ll see bridge contractors put in orders for tons of steel for bridge girders,” he explained. “Contractors are going to start hiring people, ordering materials, repairing and replacing equipment. The dollars this puts in allows for a lot of the smaller projects to go forward.”

These will not be new construction operations, they’ll be repairs to existing roads in the state. A lot or the projects are for hillside slips, landslides, bridge repairs and miles and miles of paving work.  They’ll soon be posted for bids.

Getting the money in place to begin the bidding process helps contractors who have been hoping to get to work, but Clowser said another problem is the cost of materials–and the access to getting them.

“This is probably the major issue contractors are dealing with today. Price and availability on materials, he said.

The Contractors Association has been meeting with suppliers to try and clear some of the obstacles to getting those materials in a timely manner to complete the road work which is now authorized by the state’s most recent reallocation of funds.





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