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Several accidents reported on slick roads in Kanawha County; officials warn drivers to slow down

Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 11:37 PM EST
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KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Several accidents caused major delays Wednesday morning as slick roads made for a lengthy commute.

“It was a lot (of accidents) in various parts of the county,” Kanawha County Emergency Management Director C.W. Sigman said. “A lot of people don’t slow down. They drive like it’s a normal day and drive well above the speed limit, then we have accidents.”

West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH) said crews were prepared when a belt of snow came across the region before sunrise.

“We had everything we had out on the roads, but we had a snow squall come through about 5:30 a.m. that iced everything up,” said District 4 Engineer Mike Cronin, P.E. “It melted quickly, but we had several accidents because of it.”

Cronin said there were nine accidents along Interstate 79 between Jane Lew and Clarksburg. There were also accidents reported on I-79 in Kanawha County, on Interstate 64 in Putnam County, and on the West Virginia Turnpike.

“Our crews were out overnight in anticipation of the colder temperatures,” said Jeff Miller, executive director of the West Virginia Parkways Authority, which oversees operation of the Turnpike. “We’re out in split shifts, 24 hours a day, to ensure the safety of the West Virginia Turnpike.”

“It was our first real snow of the season, and our crews were out,” said State Highway Engineer Alan Reed, P.E. “Weather is a constant adjustment, and we’ll make whatever adjustments are necessary.”

The three-vehicle accident along I-79 in Kanawha County injured two people and closed the road for several hours. Not too far from that accident, a Kanawha County Sheriff’s deputy’s cruiser was involved in a wreck on I-79. A fatal accident also occurred on I-79 in Braxton County after two vehicles collided.

“You see water running across the road like in the morning. Anytime I saw water running across the road (and) it looked like black ice, I would consider it black ice,” Sigman told WSAZ. “Drive slow, don’t do anything too rash, don’t be slamming on the brakes, don’t be (making) super invasive maneuvers. Drive slow enough where you can control your speed.”

Sigman also added to not pump your brakes and to steer into the curve if you’re skidding.

DOH officials urge drivers to drive slow in inclement weather and encourage people to give themselves extra time for travel.

“People just need to slow down,” Cronin said. As other highway districts, District 1 Manager Arlie Matney said every snowplow in the district was on the road Wednesday morning to clear snow. “Our guys will be out 24 hours a day,” Matney said. “If you see us out, give us a break.”

Matney said snowplows can only go 30 mph when clearing snow, and drivers are asked to not try and pass a snowplow on unplowed stretches of the highway.

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