CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — One week ago, West Virginia lawmakers approved spending $150 million to fix our roads.
Deteriorated, congested, and unsafe roads and bridges are costing West Virginian drivers lots of money every year in time, fuel, and vehicle repairs.
A 2021 study by the non-profit National Transportation Research Organization concluded that statewide, poor road conditions cost West Virginia drivers a total of one point $6 billion annually.
“You know we’ve under-invested in our infrastructure for decades,” said Jimmy Wriston, Deputy Commissioner WVDH.
The state has tried to reduce the backlog of highway projects, but as the study concluded, there’s never enough state or federal money to get the job done.
“You know I am requesting that they commit 150 million dollars of the surplus that we have on hand this year to highways,” said Gov. Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia.
They gave the governor the go-ahead to spend the money on a total of 402 projects and would cover 742.85 miles of paving across the state. In addition, the plan will involve 17 slips and slides, 40 bridges, and 111 other projects.
“40th Street in Nitro, that’s on our list, I believe as well. I think that will be a paving project, definitely much needed,” said Jimmy Wriston, Deputy Commissioner WVDH.
Key to the legislature’s approval was the addition of local roads not just major highway projects.
“The secondary road system – that’s where people live, that’s where they get to the stores, that’s where they go to church, that’s how they get to work,” said Jimmy Wriston, Deputy Commissioner WVDH.
Residents will be able to travel safely in a state with a reputation for poor infrastructure.
“These roadways touch every life and every citizen in the state. It’s absolutely critical to take care of what we have,” said Jimmy Wriston, Deputy Commissioner WVDH.
At least as far as the $150 million will go – work is set to begin July 1st.
To view the full list of projects in West Virginia, click here.