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Report ranks West Virginia roads 5th worst in nation

(WSAZ)
Published: Feb. 16, 2017 at 4:44 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A report released Thursday from national transportation research group, TRIP, states West Virginia's roadways and bridges are fifth worst in the nation. In 2015 the Mountain State ranked eighth.

The report says the deficient roadways costs West Virginia drivers $1.4 billion annually.

"The report was a very sobering report. It says we have tremendous needs in our highways, we have tremendous needs in our bridges," said Mike Clowser, executive director of the Contractors Association of West Virginia.

In the report, TRIP estimates that driving on rough roads costs the average West Virginia motorists an average of $647 annually in extra vehicle operating costs. Costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

"It's depressing, really. It doesn't really surprise me," said West Virginia driver David Alvarze. "We used to be the number one highway systems in the country."

The study reports traffic crashes in which roadway design was likely a contributing factor costs West Virginia drivers about $460 million each year in the form of lost household and workplace activity, and financial costs.

Traffic congestion costs West Virginians $225 million a year in lost time and wasted fuel.

"We've under invested as a nation," said TRIP executive director, Will Wilkins. "And we now are starting to pay the price in these extra vehicle operating costs that everybody bears that drives a car."

During his State of the State address, Gov. Jim Justice announced a multi-billion dollar plan to update and revitalize the state's infrastructure, which will make West Virginia roadways safer and more efficient.

"Once you start putting the adequate funds to work, you'll start seeing those numbers go down," Wilkins said.

The full report is attached to this web story.