KINGWOOD — Division of Highways (DOH) District 4 Engineer Don Williams brought good news to the North Central Caucus on Roads on Wednesday night.
Governor Jim Justice recently announced a statewide paving project called Wave B, Part 6 and 7, Williams said. It will provide $1.8 million for District 4 this fall and another $1.8 million in the spring. The money will be used for “purchase order paving.”
With this, the DOH goes in and fills potholes, replaces pipes and does other prep work ahead of the paving. Companies are contracted only to do one-and-a-half-inch of asphalt paving on the roads.
“We looked at each county as to a corridor that we thought we could do the most good with,” Williams said.
The fall projects were approved this week by the DOH Central Office, Williams said. In Preston County, W.Va. 26 from Brandonville to the Pennsylvania state line will be paved, an estimated $586,615 project.
In Monongalia County, 2.97 miles of River Road will be paved for an estimated $257,960. That’s in addition to other work already scheduled for that road.
Marion County will see 1.96 miles of Flaggy Meadow Road and 2.54 miles of Bingamon Road paved.
The caucus was formed by the six counties in the district after Preston County declared a state of emergency due to the condition of the roads. The district includes Preston, Monongalia, Marion, Doddrige, Taylor and Harrison Counties.
Monongalia County Commissioner Sean Sikora asked about the timing of two projects already under way: Interstate 79 north and Mon Boulevard. The I-79 work seems to have stalled, Sikora said. He asked why work on the boulevard stopped until WVU students were back in town.
Williams said the projects are contracted out, and the DOH does not control the day-to-day operations. Liquidated damages can be charged if the project isn’t completed on time.
The I-79 project is one of three warranty jobs let in the state, Williams said. That means the work “is full depth to the foundation back up.” The contractor provides a nine-year warranty on the work.
Preston County Commissioner Craig Jennings chaired the meeting. He suggested the next steps are for it to request from the DOH the percentage of core maintenance completed on primary and secondary roads in each district in the state. Williams previously said District 4 is at about 30 percent.
The idea is to see whether District 4’s roads are worse than those in other districts, as caucus members said.
Another project is to compile a list of roads whose current conditions impede economic development and tourism. Jenkins Cabins and Screech Owl Brewery have that problem in Preston, Jennings said.
Finally, he suggested the caucus create a resolution before the legislature convenes, presenting a plan of action on dealing with roads.
Williams also told those present he will be retiring Oct. 1 but hopes to continue working with the DOH in some capacity. He’d like to see some of the projects he started through, he said.
The caucus will meet again Oct. 17 in Harrison or Mon County.