Setting priorities for local road repair

No doubt officials at the West Virginia Department of Transportation are frustrated at their inability to react positively to each and every request for repairs to secondary roads. Resources are limited and there is only so much they can do at one time.

Their frustration is minimal compared to that of the people who must live with deplorable highways each and every day, however. Secondary road and bridge maintenance in the Mountain State has been neglected for too long.

Among those requesting swift action have been Brooke County commissioners. On behalf of some of their constituents, they contacted state officials regarding a slip along Valley View Drive, just east of Wellsburg. This week, commissioners received a response from state transportation Secretary Byrd E. White III.

White informed commissioners the slip “has been programmed and scheduled for repair … sometime in 2020.” White explained that, “our crews are currently working on higher priority slips throughout the district.”

As commission President Tim Ennis noted, White’s letter could mean “a whole year” will pass before the slip is repaired. Meanwhile, Ennis said, “That road just inches back a little more each day” because the slip continues to worsen.

Between 75 and 100 homes are accessed via Valley View Drive, which already has been restricted to one lane. Residents in the area “have no other access to their homes,” Ennis emphasized.

White pledged that the Division of Highways will monitor the slip. Presumably, the agency will move Valley View Drive up on its priority list if conditions grow worse.

Let us hope so. Should the road collapse entirely, it could cut the equivalent of a small town off from highway access to the rest of the world. Commissioners should monitor the slip, too. If it deteriorates to an emergency, they should pressure the DOT to undertake repairs in enough time to avoid a major problem.


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