Brooke County Commission Discusses Road Issues

After recently meeting with regional leaders for the West Virginia Division of Highways, Brooke County officials plan to take their concerns to the West Virginia Legislature.

“Like many constituents of Brooke County, I’m very concerned about the condition of the roads,” Sheriff Larry Palmer told Brooke County Commissioners during their Tuesday meeting. “It’s unsafe. Really, they are deplorable and I find the speed the state is working at unacceptable.”

Palmer cited, among other areas, potholes in the south end of W.Va. 2 in Follansbee and a section of W.Va. 67 where the edge of the road is crumbling off the hillside that requires a two-way stop.

Commissioners said they were among Northern Panhandle officials who met recently with DOH District 6 officials to discuss how revenue from the Roads to Prosperity bond issue will be spent here.

The proposed W.Va. 2 bypass in New Cumberland is among local projects for which the state has allocated the bond money.

But commissioners said funding for smaller repairs and maintenance work seems to be woefully lacking.

“Pretty much we were told it’s all because of money,” said Commissioner Jim Andreozzi. “I think we need to do everything we can — write to all of our legislators.”

Andreozzi said funding for road repairs and maintenance in Brooke County is the second lowest in the state.

David Brabham, District 6 engineer, said the county has the second-lowest number of road miles in the state. That is one of the factors the state uses to determine funding for road repairs and maintenance “so it receives the second-smallest piece of the pie.”

He also said the number of vehicles that travel the roads is another factor. However, the size of those vehicles is not.

Resident Anthony “Butch” Rotellini suggested heavy water trucks used by the natural gas industry have caused more than typical wear on county roads.

Commission President Tim Ennis said crews have patched W.Va. 2 near the Domino’s Pizza shop in Follansbee to little avail.

Earlier this year state highway officials said pavement of W.Va. 2 is scheduled to coincide with the replacement of a deteriorating bridge deck beneath its intersection with Allegheny Street.

Follansbee City Manager John DeStefano said the state has advised him it will repave that section of W.Va. 2 this fall. It will do the bridge early next year.

Ennis said commissioners don’t blame other Northern Panhandle officials nor road crews. He believes crews are doing their best with limited resources.

Palmer said the state raised its vehicle registration fee from $30 to $51.50. It was among auto fees raised to generate revenue for road maintenance.

“I haven’t seen much of it spent here,” he said.

At its website at driveforwardwv.com, the state Department of Transportation has announced the following projects:

∫ Construction of a retaining wall and other measures to address two slips along W.Va. 67, to begin in September or October.

∫ A retaining wall to stabilize a slip along the Big Rock section of Rockdale Road. The work has been completed, with guardrail to follow.

∫ A retaining wall or other measures to correct a slide along St. Johns Road, to begin this year and be done in June.

∫ Resurfacing of 0.27 miles of W.Va. 27 set to begin in October.

Brabham said bids for most of the projects haven’t been awarded yet.

In other business, the commissioners:

∫ Approved the $81,700 purchase of two new ambulances from J.J. Emergency Vehicles of Morgantown.

Bob Fowler, the county’s ambulance director, said the vehicles will replace two ambulances that are being retired after being used for more than 300,000 miles. He said their replacement will save the county about $1,500 in monthly repair and maintenance costs.

∫ Tabled a request by Mario Boni to close Fourth Avenue on Archer Heights. Andreozzi said the board has heard from supporters and opponents of the move and will give parties involved the opportunity to work out a solution themselves.

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