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Our annual safe driving reminder

The condition of our local roadways has been a focus on the news in recent weeks, and serves as our annual reminder to always be diligent while behind the wheel.

A few weeks ago, as a result of our regular spring rains, we began having some landslides resulting in road closures, including on a few important thoroughfares.

Route 2, just south of Follansbee, was the first, with dirt, trees and debris flowing across the state highway near the Wabash Bridge. You can still see the area affected by the slide if you drive past it, and there is the possibility more could happen as the season continues. The area in question, after all, seems to have at least one or two such slides a year, with little space between the hillside and the road.

The same day, a section of Greenbrier Road in Weirton was closed for similar reasons.

Both were cleared and reopened after a short amount of time, but Greenbrier was closed again not long after.

A few days later, Cove Hill Road experienced its own closure from a landslide. That took longer out of concern over the stability of the hillside, but it is open and reportedly set to be milled and paved in the coming days.

There will probably be more work ahead, at least I hope so, but that will be up to the state Division of Highways as Cove Road is a state road.

In addition to the slide issue, we’ve no doubt seen the construction zones sprout up in our area over the last few weeks, as crews perform various bits of repairs to our roads and bridges. One westbound lane on the Veterans Memorial Bridge remains closed as part of its regular inspection, and, at some point, that will switch over to the eastbound side.

Work also is taking place on the various on and off ramps near the bridge and leading into Weirton.

Local cities are in the midst of their own paving and maintenance season, with several streets receiving a fresh layer of asphalt to improve the driving surface.

I know it can be frustrating if you aren’t prepared to enter a construction zone or aren’t aware of a closure and have to detour to another route. We all get frustrated by it, even those of us who are tasked with informing the public of such projects. Road construction is often reliant on the weather, so many times the city or state wait to send out a notice until the day before, waiting to have a good window of clear skies. That doesn’t always make it possible to get a notice published in our newspaper, but we strive to post it on our website and social media in the hope people will still see the information.

All of it is a reminder for the motoring public to pay attention and not let ourselves be distracted while behind the wheel. You never know when something could happen that will cause difficulties in our roads, or when you might need to change your planned route. We’re all getting out on the roads more this time of year, despite the high fuel prices, and that means there is more to which we need to pay attention.

Focus on the road ahead, pay attention to any traffic signs placed along your route, get into the appropriate lane when needed and control your speed. Keep an eye on those around you, when needed, to help make sure no crashes take place.

It is up to all of us to make sure we remain safe.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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