Poor roads locally desperately call for state of emergency

We have never held our tongue about  road condtions..
Criticism of the state Division of Highways has run unabated for decades here.
Some of our critics claim we don’t do enough to pressure the DOH about road conditions. We suggest they call the DOH to see which newspaper it loathes the most.
No one here ever coveted such a designation, but you usually don’t make friends by telling people to do their job.
But we stopped short of calling on the Monongalia County Commission to declare a state of emergency over road conditions. Not anymore. We urge the County Commission to immediately make such a declaration over  road conditions.
Yes, the final straw was this week’s Morgantown Monongalia Metropolitan Planning Organization meeting. That’s when we learned the DOH  programmed and designed an
$11 million mistake.
That is, rather than the DOH designating the end of Van Voorhis Road running from the West Run Road intersection to Patteson Drive for major improvements it did the reverse.
Instead, the  Van Voorhis Road project the DOH designed and displayed Monday runs from West Run to Bakers Ridge Road. This is after even being informed by the MPO weeks ago of its mistake. Yes, this mistake is needed, too, but it’s not the priority.
For a long time Monongalia County struggled to speak with one voice to the DOH about our priorities. But in recent years, once a decision on a project was  recommended by the MPO, by and large, the internal dissent ended.
That’s because the MPO’s partners represent the county, four municipalities, WVU, MUB, Mountain Line, the school board, the Chamber of Commerce, etc.
Now we learn the DOH  decided to ignore our community’s recommendations for a major road project and do the opposite. That leads us to believe things are just getting worse and our county should act accordingly.
We don’t know what it takes to get the DOH’s attention  these days.
The County Commission  already helps to spearhead efforts by a six-county road caucus and has presented a list of roads in need of immediate repair to the state.
Members of our legislative delegation  produced audits, data and legislation about our road conditions.
And some members of Morgantown’s City Council have suggested contracting repairs to state roads in city limits.
Last week, another county declared a state of emergency over its roads in hopes of expediting state funds for improvements. Monongalia should join Hancock, Marshall and Preston counties with a declaration of its own.
We’re not holding our breath this declaration will change things. But anyone who makes a habit out of ignoring emergencies, does so at their own peril.

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