Looking at the state of West Virginia's rural roads

Published: Mar. 12, 2019 at 8:46 PM EDT
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Just how bad are many of West Virginia’s rural roads?

WSAZ’s Leanne Shinkle took a ride with Logan County residents to get a firsthand look.

Just a few days ago, Gov. Jim Justice fired the man who was in charge of state transportation and highways. Justice says he wants the next person who fills that spot to focus on fixing secondary roads and bridges.

Justice is planning to make a big announcement Wednesday about his plans to speed up road repairs.

Ahead of the governor's announcement to fix the broken back roads of West Virginia, residents in Logan County can't say it loud enough: the roads are unacceptable.

"What was a pothole a year ago, has now become the whole side of the mountain slipped in," said G.C. Conley.

He took us on a drive through the back roads of Chapmanville. In just a 2-mile span, we came across several massive road slips.

On a daily basis, hundreds drive there, including a school bus that picks up the kids.

"Well, I mean everybody is just scared to death that it is going to slip off with their kids on it,” Conley said. “You know that is your whole life, your child is your whole life."

So he and his neighbors reached out to their delegate, Ralph Rodighiero, for help. Rodighiero thinks this has become a state of emergency, saying it's necessary to call in the National Guard. So, he sat down to talk about it with the governor.

"He said this coming up is his priority, to get our back roads fixed,” Conley said. “The four lanes, we can all drive in our four lanes, but these here, we are in dire need to get some kind of help. It's not getting fixed. It has been put off and it just keeps getting worse and worse and it is to where nobody can travel them anymore."

He added, “We are going into the rainy season, springtime. And if you take one or two good rains, I mean who knows. Who knows what is going to happen?"