Opinion

Poor road conditions taking toll on W.Va. drivers

An editorial from The Exponent Telegram

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — The other day Staff Writer Zach Tuggle talked to some local drivers and found they are more than a little angry over the condition of our roads and streets. Potholes are causing damage to cars and unsafe driving practices by those trying to miss them.

Certainly it was a small sampling and an unscientific survey, but we still have to think it is on the minds of the vast majority of drivers in North Central West Virginia.

 One person has had her car to the shop twice so far this year, shelling out $1,200 for repairs to damaged tie rods, struts and tires.

A truck driver said he witnessed a wreck on a road where someone was swerving to avoid a pothole and ended up hitting a vehicle in the other lane.

And it’s not just the open highways that are the biggest culprits. Streets in downtown Clarksburg are something like a war zone.

“Downtown is just horrible,” said Rosann Oliverio of Clarksburg. “It’s ridiculous, and patching isn’t going to work. It needs totally redone.”

Two of the biggest problems are West Main Street and West Pike Street — both technically are under the jurisdiction of the state. And Ray Urse of the state Division of Highways said it’s not likely those two streets will be resurfaced until at least 2016. They’ll be patched in the meantime

DOH spokesman Kip Hall said that even though bids are going out to resurface state roads, the work may not begin right way.

“Sometimes contractors will wait until they collect a few of these jobs,” Hall said. “That way when they fire up the (asphalt) plants, it’s more cost-effective for them to complete five or six projects.”

Some projects don’t get started until late October. Repairs to roads that were torn up the previous winter won’t be resurfaced until the snow begins to fly for the new winter season.

Even streets under Clarksburg’s jurisdiction won’t be addressed until the end of July.

This borders on ridiculous.

The condition of our roads and streets are perhaps the most tangible proof of government action — or in this case, inaction…

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